A mouth protector, commonly known as a mouth guard, as the name implies, is a device that is used to protect the mouth and especially the teeth against damage and injury during sporting or recreational activities. Mouthguards can be of a common side or can be custom made to fit a particular person and they are highly essential for those who use braces or have their anterior bridgework fixed. Mouthguards can minimize or even prevent the damage caused to teeth or the brackets from blows and physical contact. They also act as a barrier between the teeth and softer tissue like the inner lining of the cheeks and the tongue and prevents untoward biting and damage of softer tissues.
A perfect mouthguard or mouth protector would be the one which would protect the teeth while allowing the person to speak. It would even stay snugly fit even when intense forces are applied on the facial region as well as be comfortable to the wearer at the same time. It should be long lasting and durable and should be easy to clean and should be odour free and tasteless. Mouthguards are generally used for protecting the teeth of the upper jaw, although mouthguards protecting both the jaws are becoming more common nowadays.
According to the US National Collegiate Athletic Association, mouthguards are only needed for a handful of sports. On the other hand though, the American Dental Association recommends the use of a mouth guard for all the 29 sports for enhanced protection of the teeth against any untoward incident. Many dentists recommend the use of mouthguards for any activity which involves hard surfaces and contact and they would help you choose the best mouthguard according to your need.
Mouthguards have several advantages, the most important being to protect against tooth and oral damage. They protect against chipping and breaking of teeth and help to avoid the loss of tooth. They also act as a shield against other major forms of damage including jaw fractures, internal hemorrhaging as well as neck injuries. They also preventing cutting and bruising of the lips and other soft tissues.
Even after the wide number of advantages offered by mouthguards, many people still do not wear it. There are a variety of reasons, mostly which include the poor fit offered by most off-the-shelf mouthguards available in the market as well as the hindrance they cause to the wearer when they speak. Then there is the image issue, as many people think wearing mouthguards makes them seem uncool.
Several types of mouthguards are available in the market. The most common ones are the stock mouthguards, which are designed to fit different types of mouth. They are cheap and inexpensive but offer the worst fit and can become uncomfortable to wear. The second type of mouthguards include mouth formed mouthguards, which molds to the teeth and sets its shape. While they are better than the stock mouthguards in terms of fit and finish, they are no match to custom made mouthguards, which are prepared to exact specifications and shape of your mouth and offer excellent fit and comfort. Other than mouthguards, there are other forms of mouth protection devices available in the market, which provide specialized protection for specialized tasks.