Protect Your Smile: The Importance of Mouthguards in Sports


We all know how important our smiles are. After all, a smile is worth a thousand words. Our smiles are an essential part of who we are and often speak volumes about our personalities. However, dental injuries can happen in various ways, whether it be during sports-related activities or teeth grinding at night. That’s why mouthguards in sports are a vital step to consider when it comes to the health of your teeth.

Why should you wear a mouthguard?

Mouthguards provide an effective way to protect your teeth and mouth from injuries that can occur while participating in sports or other physical activities. Additionally, they can help prevent damage caused by teeth grinding, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss.

Whether you’re an athlete, a teeth grinder, or just want to safeguard your smile, investing in a quality mouthguard is the ideal way to provide an extra layer of protection. By doing so, you’ll be taking a proactive approach to protecting your teeth and ensuring that your smile remains healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Read on to find out why mouthguards are so crucial in sports, including how to find the right one for you.

How do mouthguards work?

A mouthguard is a protector that covers your teeth and surrounding gums. The aim is to eliminate or reduce any trauma to the teeth, lips, or jaw. They can also aid in absorbing shock around the jaw area.

Your mouthguard should be durable enough to withstand impact and not be easily torn or broken. It is also a common misconception that mouthguards are uncomfortable. But if you have it fitted correctly, you should still be able to breathe, talk, and play sports comfortably and safely.

The different types of mouthguards: which is right for you?

Ready-made mouthguards

One of the most common options is the one-size-fits-all mouthguard, which can be purchased from stores, pharmacies, and some retail and supermarket stores. These mouthguards are typically made from rubber, making them a low-cost option that is readily available.  While these mouthguards may seem like a convenient choice, they do have some significant disadvantages. For one, they only come in limited sizes, making it difficult to find one that fits well. Additionally, because everyone’s mouth is different, a one-size-fits-all mouthguard may not provide adequate protection. A poorly fitted mouthguard can also be uncomfortable, making it less likely to be worn consistently.

Boil and bite mouthguards

These mouthguards are fitted with thermoplastic material that softens when placed in boiling water. Once softened, the mouthguard is placed in the player’s mouth, and they bite down to create a mould of their teeth. The mouthguard is then left to set, providing a more custom fit than stock mouthguards. While boil-and-bite mouthguards are not entirely custom-fitted to your mouth, they provide a better fit than pre-formed types. These mouthguards can be found at most sports shops and pharmacies, making them a more affordable and accessible option than custom-made mouthguards.

However, it’s important to remember that these mouthguards may not provide the same level of protection as a custom-fitted mouthguard, so choosing the option that best fits your needs and budget is essential.

Custom mouthguards

According to the Australian Dental Association, custom-made mouthguards created by your dentist are the most protective for the teeth and mouth. They are designed specially to fit your mouth’s exact contours and size.

A mouthguard tailored to fit your teeth and conform to the shape of the soft tissue in your mouth is a superior choice compared to an off-the-shelf mouthguard purchased at a pharmacy. With a custom fit, these mouthguards provide unique comfort and security while absorbing impacts more effectively. Additionally, they allow for improved speech and normal breathing while being worn.

Although custom-fitted mouthguards may be pricier than over-the-counter pharmacy options, they’re a wise investment in the protection of your teeth. By choosing a custom-fitted mouthguard, you’re taking a proactive approach to preventing dental trauma that could result in more costly solutions down the road. This investment can save you time, money, and discomfort in the long run, making it well worth the initial cost.

Mouthguards in sports

Playing a sport puts you at a much higher risk of injuring your teeth and mouth. This could include a broken jaw, fractured, cracked, or knocked-out teeth, as well as cuts to your lips and tongue. Wearing a sports mouthguard can help safeguard you against such serious injuries.

Therefore, there are many benefits to wearing a sports mouthguard in order to keep your smile in top shape and prevent lifelong damage that can be expensive and painful.

Which sports would benefit from wearing a mouthguard?

We recommend wearing a mouthguard for all contact sports. Besides sports that require facial protection as part of the uniform, there are other sports where it is recommended in order to reduce the risk of dental injury.

It is strongly recommended by the Australian Dental Association that fitted mouthguards are worn in the following sports:

  • AFL
  • Rugby
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Cricket
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Netball
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling
  • Boxing
  • Snow sports

Proper care of your mouthguard

Your mouthguard is just like any other oral health item you put in your mouth (toothbrushes, retainers, etc.) and must be looked after and replaced when necessary. Bacteria and microorganisms can build up on the surface and potentially make you sick if you don’t properly store and clean your mouthguard.

Get in the habit of cleaning your mouthguard thoroughly after each use, whether that’s a game or a practice, and storing it in a well-ventilated container.

Signs your mouthguard needs to be replaced

Mouthguards aren’t indestructible, and after wearing them game after game, they will start to lose their ability to adequately protect your teeth. We recommend you visit your dentist after every season, or every six months, to ensure your mouthguard is doing all it can to protect your teeth from injury.

Here are some signs that mean it’s time to replace your mouthguard:

  • It’s become thin and flimsy and has bent out of its original shape.
  • If you’ve had recent dental procedures, your bite or teeth may have changed or shifted.
  • You’re sore after wearing your mouthguard.
  • The colour has changed or faded.
  • There are cracks, tears, or holes.
  • If it smells bad or has an unpleasant taste.

How can we help?

At Mornington Peninsula Dental Clinic, we understand the importance of protecting your teeth during sports activities, especially for teenagers and children. That’s why we specialise in creating custom-made mouthguards that are tailored to fit your teeth perfectly. Our mouthguards come in various colours and thicknesses and are designed to hug your teeth and mouth, providing optimal support and protection.

When it comes to protecting your teeth during sports, a custom-fitted mouthguard is the best option. Unlike off-the-shelf mouthguards, our custom-made mouthguards provide complete coverage and protection. So, if you’re regularly involved in contact sports and want to safeguard your teeth, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can contact us here or call us at (03) 5975 5944 to learn more about our custom-fitted sports mouthguards.

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