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Mouth Guards Prevent Teeth and Mouth Injuries in Athletes

Mouth guards can save teeth and prevent mouth and jaw injuries in athletes


Updated March 14, 2011

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that anyone who participates in a sport that "carries a significant risk of injury should wear a mouth protector." They recommend mouth protection for football, hockey, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, and volleyball. Mouth guards are stiff, cushioned molds that fit closely over the upper teeth. They provide support and padding for the teeth and jaw if you take a blow to the face or head. They reduce the risk of broken or lost teeth and other mouth injuries such as lacerations in the inside of the mouth.

Selecting a Mouth Guard
Fit is the most important part of selecting a mouth guard. It should stay securely in place during activity and you should be able to comfortable breathe and talk.

  • Off the Shelf Mouth Guards
    These are relatively inexpensive and come ready to wear and pre-formed. It is difficult to get the perfect fit so they are not the best if you use it often or play a sport with a high degree of impact risk. Mouth protection is especially important for athletes who wear braces. Not only do they prevent damage to the braces, but they protect you from injuries cause by the braces themselves.

    Compare Prices Off the Shelf Mouth Guards

  • Boil and Bite Guards
    These are a step up from the off the shelf guards because you can get a better fit that is shaped to your teeth by boiling the guard to soften it and then biting on it to shape it.

  • Custom Mouth Guards
    These come from your dentist and are designed to fit perfectly. They are typically more expensive than store-bought mouth protection, but if you use it often, it may be worth the investment.

Mouth Guard Care

  • Clean your mouth guard after each use by brushing it just like you would your teeth. You can also rinse it with mouthwash.
  • Once a week (if you use it often) wash it with soap and water and rinse it thoroughly.
  • Store it in a case that allows some airflow.
  • Don't leave it in the sun or let it get too warm; this can change its shape.
  • Replace the mouth guard if you have tears, holes or fraying.
  • Have you dentist check your mouth guard when you go in for your regular cleaning.


The American Dental Association (ADA), Protecting teeth with Mouth Guards.

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