Athletic Mouth Guards — Which of These Three Types Is Perfect for Your Teeth?
Consider this: according to data from the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA), it’s estimated that anywhere between $22 million and $25 million are spent per year to treat tooth loss caused by sports. Furthermore, it can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 to treat one just lost front tooth. Considering that estimates show that around 12 million Canadians have at least one untreated dental problem at any given time, wouldn’t it be great if there were some way to prevent tooth loss in sports games and refrain from adding onto this 12 million?
As a matter of fact, moldable mouth guards are around for precisely that reason. Many sports leagues already require athletes (especially young kids and teens) to wear mouth guards while playing sports, and Canadian law requires the use of mouth guards for players in minor/amateur hockey, football, rugby, and lacrosse teams (just to name a few). However, most dentists recommend that athletes in any sport should wear a moldable or custom mouth guard for protection, since studies have shown that athletes are up to two times more likely to lose a tooth if they aren’t wearing a mouth guard.
So if you’re one of the millions of Canadians who want to protect their teeth without hurting their game on the field or court, here are the three mouth guard options you can choose from:
- Stock Mouth Guards These mouth guards are certainly the cheapest option, primarily because they’re marketed as a “one size fits all” piece of equipment (i.e., they can’t be custom-fitted to your teeth) and they only offer minimal protection. Most athletes find that these mouth guards are somewhat uncomfortable and restrict air flow a bit — but in a pinch, they offer better protection for your teeth than wearing no mouth guard at all.
- Mouth-Formed / “Boil and Bite” These moldable mouth guards can be found at pretty much any athletic store, and most athletes in amateur leagues settle for these. The directions are fairly simple — you place the mouth guard into a pot of boiling water, which softens the plastic enough so that when you take it out and immediately bite onto it, the plastic creates a mold that fits your teeth. These mouth guards offer better protection than the stock guards, but many people still find that they’re a bit bulky and uncomfortable.
- Custom Fabricated and Pressure Laminated These two types of moldable mouth guards are the most expensive, but they offer the most protection and are necessary for high-impact sports. These mouth guards are created by professional dentists and denturists, and you can make an appointment at nearly any denture clinic or dental facility that offers dental prosthesis services. These mouth guards are perfectly fitted to your teeth, and they allow you to breathe normally and even talk normally while wearing them. Because they’re made with the highest quality materials, they’re likely to last through two to three seasons of a sport, even with constant use.
Ultimately, it really depends on the sport you’re playing and the amount of protection your need. The best thing to do is to consult your local dentist to find out which type of mouth guard is perfect for you, and for your teeth.