Whether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Sports related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries received by athletes. Sports guards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Dental Association that you wear a sports guard.

Types of Sports Guards

Choosing the right sports guard is essential. There are three basic types of sports guards: the pre-made sports guard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted sports guard, and a custom-made sports guard from your dentist. When you choose a sports guard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly. If you wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for you to wear a sports guard. Your dentist can show you how to wear a sports guard properly and how to choose the right sports guard to protect your smile.

Taking care of your sports guard

Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your sports guard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old sports guard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your sports guard clean and working correctly:

  • Gently scrub your sports guard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Store your sports guard in a protective case.
  • Do not leave your sports guard in the sun or in hot water, it may melt or become deformed.
  • Replace your sports guard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your sports guard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
  • Do not wear a retainer with your sports guard. If you wear braces, your dentist will help design a sports guard to protect your teeth and your braces.
  • Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your sports guard. Sports guards come in different shapes and sizes, ask your dentist which is best for you.
  • Bring your sports guard to each dental checkup, and your dentist can check to make sure it’s still in good shape!

Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports related injury to your smile. Be sure to ask your dentist about sports guards at your next dental checkup. Schedule an appointment today.