What is a mouth guard and when is it recommended to use it?

The teeth can be exposed to serious injury, especially when playing sports that involve a lot of contact. As a result, it is important to implement the use of tools that prevent trauma. Among them is the mouth guard.

It is an element that is shaped like a jaw and is located inside the mouth to protect all teeth. According to a review published by the Department of Dentistry of the European University of Madrid, it began to be used between the 1920s and 1930s to mitigate severe conditions in boxers.

Its effectiveness in sports use has caused that, over time, it has evolved to the point of not only protecting the teeth, but also the soft tissues and the brain.

What's more, the mouth guard helps prevent complicated injuries, such as jaw fractures, the loss of a tooth, incidents at the brain level that cause bleeding and cuts of any kind. The purpose is that the jaw remains firm against any impact.

Types of mouth guard

Mouth guards were designed to offer strong solutions and ensure that people carry a protective measure that allows them to be safer against blows.

In favor of each of the needs that may arise and a more complete care, these tools have had a development over time. This has been essential so that, today, the 3 types of mouth guards detailed below can be found.

1. Prefabricated mouth guard

It is the most basic type of protector and the one with the cheapest cost in the market. It is already prepared in its entirety and ready to be used instantly if required.

However, although they can be requested in small or large sizes, it can happen that sometimes they do not fit completely, because not all human beings have the same proportions in the jaw.

Anyway, this precast element generates protection, being more effective in those people who agree with the standard size and they make the protector fit them comfortably. In the opposite cases, it can become uncomfortable to the point of preventing fluid breathing.

Born for boxing, mouth guards expanded into other disciplines that also require jaw care.

2. Boil and bite mouth guard

This type of protection is a bit more technical than the previous one, as it was devised with the intention of strengthening people's confidence and improving aspects that were initially weak.

The mouth guard is not fully formed. For this reason, the tool must be boiled in water, accommodated in the jaw and biting so that the mold adapts specifically to the shape of each person.

With this process it is achieved that the instrument is firmer on the teeth and is more efficient against any blow.

3. Custom made mouth guard

This is the most effective type. In this case a professional is consulted to take exact measurements of the jaw and build a mouth guard that exactly fits each industry.

With this procedure it is achieved that the person acquires a protector that adheres strongly to the teeth, but does not generate any type of discomfort.

Keep reading: 5 signs of oral problems

When should you wear a mouth guard?

It should be used whenever sports are played that involve constant interaction with other people and pose the imminent risk of being struck by a forceful blow to the face. The sports activities where it is most recommended are the following:

  • Boxing.
  • Gymnastics.
  • Rugby.
  • Football.
  • Hockey.

But it is not only a suitable tool for sports purposes, it also helps in cases of people who move their mouth and hit their teeth while they are sleeping. Here the purpose of the mouth guard is to prevent teeth from meeting abruptly to avoid wear and muscle problems.

The mouth guard can also be important to counteract sleep apnea, as it does not allow the jaw to close completely. Thus, the person has less risk of becoming uncomfortable with the tongue and jamming their breathing.

Tips for caring for your mouth guard

Being a tool that is in contact with the mouth, requires detailed care to prevent dirt from accumulating or bacteria that can cause an oral infection.

Have your teeth clean before using the protector

Teeth can accumulate bacteria, so it is essential that a judicious brushing is always carried out to prevent oral health from being disturbed.

Clean the protector in detail

Before and after each use it is important to rinse the appliance with cold water, in addition to cleaning it part by part with a toothpaste and a brush intended only for it. This ensures that the mouth guard is always clean and disease-free.

Have a suitable container for the mouth guard

As long as the protector is not being used must be in a large, well-sealed container that allows the entire appliance to be covered, without the risk of falling or coming into contact with inappropriate substances. In addition, this is important to reduce contact with the hands and prevent it from being left anywhere.

In bruxism, mouth guards are prescribed that reprogram the jaw and prevent wear and tear injuries.

Be pending

The protector must remain undamaged to ensure that it fits well in the mouth and all sectors are protected. When the appliance shows some kind of wear, should be changed immediately because it is loose and it is not entirely safe.

Keep the protector dry

After each cleaning it is important that the protector is vented into its own container, because by staying dry it prevents other types of elements or materials from adhering to it.

Discover: What should you know about dental implant complications?

The mouth guard requires rigorous use and care

The mouth guard is for personal use and it cannot be shared under any circumstances. This is key to avoid contagion of pathologies.

The mouth can always be exposed and it never hurts to take some precautions. Therefore, the instrument must be incorporated as one of the essential elements to perform sports. The spread of its use in certain disciplines is key to reducing the rate of injuries.