A mouthguard can help protect your smile when participating in sport.

Mouthguards can prevent broken teeth, jaws and limit injuries to the lips and tongue.

There are two main types of mouthguard

Stock- made boil and bite mouthguards– available from chemists and sports stores. These come in limited sizes, usually, small, medium or large. These mouthguards are intended to fit a wide range of mouths so they tend to be less comfortable than a custom-made mouthguard.

A mouthguard should fit in your mouth properly without limiting your speech or breathing. These mouthguards are inexpensive as they are made from cheaper, less durable materials.

Custom made mouthguards– available from your dentist. The dentist can take an impression of your teeth and have a mouthguard made that fits your mouth perfectly. This means it is less bulky, will stay firmly fitted in your mouth during exercise and is more comfortable. The materials used can vary depending on the type of sport you will be participating in. For example, a boxer may require a different type of mouthguard to a basketball player. The materials used are durable and easy to clean.

Caring for your mouthguard

Before and after each use, rinse your mouthguard with cold water. You can use a toothbrush and water to clean your mouthguard however, it is best to avoid using toothpaste on the plastic material.

If your mouthguard develops an odour, you can occasionally use a denture-soaking tablet such as Polident to freshen it up.

Your mouthguard should be stored in a sturdy container that allows air circulation. Don’t store your mouthguard in a sock or the bottom of your sports bag as they are easy to lose and are a critical part of your sporting equipment.

Avoid exposing mouthguards to high temperatures. Hot cars, direct sunlight or hot water will distort your mouthguard. This will reduce the quality of the fit.

Good safety habits in children can promote mouthguard use later in life, it is never too early for your child to start wearing a mouthguard when participating in sport.

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