There are three basic types of mouthguards: custom-fitted, boil-and-bite and ready-made. These are worn to prevent injury to teeth during participation in contact sports, leisure and recreation activities. The other type of mouth guard, known as a night splint, is worn to protect teeth from grinding and clenching during sleep.
The Australian Dental Association recommends mouthguards custom-fitted by dentists as they provide the greatest protection for the teeth, lips and jaw, by virtue of their exact fit. Regardless of age or experience wearing a mouthguard is essential to avoid significant trauma to adult teeth.
Caring for your mouth guard
Simply rinsing your mouthguard with water is not enough to get it properly clean. It’s vital to get into the habit of regularly cleaning your appliance in order to prevent damage, calcium build up and the growth of bacteria, yeast and fungi. Proper care and maintenance are especially important for night guards that are worn daily and is the best way to extend their life span and ensure they stay in tip-top working order, saving you money in the long run.
· To keep your mouthguard in optimal shape, wash it with cold water before and after every use
· Once a week use a toothbrush to clean it with antibacterial soap and rinse thoroughly
· For deeper cleaning soak in an alcohol-free mouthwash or use a denture cleaning tablet
Storing your mouthguard
Mouthguards can get warped if left in direct sunlight or hot water. After cleaning let your appliance air dry and store in a cool place. Avoid storing it in a closed box because it is a breeding ground for bacteria and mould. If you have a pet dog, try to keep your mouth guard out of reach of your furry friend because they tend to like chewing on things that smell like saliva.
When to replace your mouthguard
Check your mouthguard on a weekly basis for damage and get your dentist to examine it when you have your regular check-up. Make sure to inform your dentist if it begins to feel uncomfortable or doesn’t fit well. When your mouthguard starts to show signs of wear and teach, such as cracks, it’s time to get a new one.
If you play contact sports, snore or grind your teeth we highly recommend reaching out to the friendly team at Oak Tree Ballarat Dental to find out more about custom-fitted mouthguards. Call (03) 5342 9633 to book an appointment today.