3 Benefits of a Mouthguard

3 Benefits of a Mouthguard

When most people think of mouthguards, what comes to mind is probably their favorite sport, or favorite athlete. In reality, mouthguards are a multi-faceted tool. The purpose of a mouthguard, as the name insinuates, is to protect your mouth, but mouthguards truly protect your teeth. Choosing to use a mouthguard can make a difference in your dental health, both in the long- and short-term. 

Our team of providers at My Kidz Dentist in Phoenix, Arizona see all types of dental issues that could be prevented with the use of mouthguards. Mouthguards are easy to care for, available when you need them, and usable for nearly anybody who needs one. There are a number of benefits of using a mouthguard, and each depends on your unique dental needs. 

What’s a mouthguard, and what’s available? 

A mouthguard is a semi-circular piece of soft material that is placed in the mouth to protect the teeth, gums, and lips from several threats to oral health. While it’s certainly true that not everyone needs a mouthguard, many people, both children and adults, benefit from the use of mouthguards. 

If you are considering a mouthguard, you have several options: 

Store-bought, or stock mouthguards

Available at sporting good stores, pharmacies, dental offices, and a variety of retailers, store-bought mouthguards come in several standard sizes. For a child, these types of mouthguards are easy to get, but require some effort to keep - biting down on them may be necessary for them to stay in place, and protect your child’s teeth. 

The Sleep Foundation issues a yearly list of the best mouthguards for any purpose. 

Boil-and-bite mouthguards

Much like store-bought mouthguards, boil-and-bite mouthguards come in a limited number of sizes, but are made from a material that becomes pliable in hot water. After boiling this type of mouthguard, your child bites down on it, creating a more customized piece to protect their little teeth. 

Custom mouthguards

My Kidz Dentist is proud to offer custom mouthguards for our patients. Custom mouthguards are easier for a child to use, as it’s created to fit their unique bite. During your appointment, your provider takes a mold of your child’s teeth. This creates a mouthguard that’s the best possible fit for your child, allowing the best possible protection. 

Protecting your teeth during the night

If you have been waking up with jaw pain, it may be due to grinding your teeth in your sleep, also known as bruxism. Bruxism is a common condition that affects an estimated 10% of adults in the US, and around 15% of children. Bruxism typically results from stress or anxiety during the early stages of sleep, but can occur while someone is awake. 

Left untreated, it’s common for bruxism to cause and exacerbate jaw pain, and wear and weaken teeth. Choosing to use a mouthguard to stop your teeth from grinding is an easy and common treatment for bruxism. 

Making contact sports safer

Contact sports are notorious for their risk of injury, and athletes that suffer the consequences of that risk. Contact sports like football, hockey, lacrosse, and wrestling have an elevated risk of teeth getting knocked out of their sockets, and ending up on the field, or even in little tummies. Mouthguards make contact sports healthier by cushioning teeth from impact. 

Easing the use of traditional braces

Traditional braces provide an excellent benefit for overall oral health - straightening your teeth makes them easier to clean, and harder for plaque to form, reducing the risk of gum disease. Despite these lifelong benefits, traditional braces can be uncomfortable for some children. Mouthguards can provide protection for the soft tissues of the mouth from catching on the tiny metal apparatuses that exist on braces. 

Is it time for my child to get a mouthguard? 

Given the risk of damage to your child’s teeth if they grind them or play sports, and the discomfort of braces for some children, choosing a mouthguard for your child could save them a great deal of discomfort. Choosing the righ tmouthguard may present a few challenges, but start with a call to your provider at My Kidz Dentist, or book an appointment with us online. 

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