There are many devices used to protect a person’s teeth, gums and smile. One of these is known as the mouth guard. Mouth guards are usually thought to be worn only by boxers in the ring and football players on the field. Most people may not be aware that these mouthpieces are actually needed for many other purposes other than boxing and playing competitive football. In fact, without the use of mouth guards, there will be a huge sector of society with very damaged mouths, indeed.
One of the reasons mouth guards are important is because of people who grind their teeth, particularly at night in their sleep. This condition is known as bruxism. It is characterized by a person clenching their teeth and grinding them together, creating unnatural grating noises.
People who have bruxism tend to damage their teeth early on, giving them worn- down, damaged teeth and an unsightly smile. If they happen to wear dentures, bruxism will mean having to replace broken dentures more often than should be necessary. The cost of bruxism is great indeed, not only with the loss of confidence that comes with unattractive teeth but the expense of having to get them repaired or to have new dentures made all the time.
The solution to this problem is to be fitted with a night mouth guard. People can buy this mouthpiece over-the-counter, or have their dentist custom-fit them for one. Customized mouth guards are often a better choice because they fit better and are more comfortable.
Another reason mouth guards are important is to protect children who participate in competitive sports. Parents should always be vigilant about having mouth guards become one of the required sports equipment for their children who are active in athletics. Mouth guards are a safe choice that is highly recommended by the American Dental Association for sports like basketball, acrobatics, discus throwing, gymnastics, ice and field hockey, martial arts, rugby, lacrosse, and a host of other sporting events that involve forceful physical contact and exertion.
There are an estimated 39% of mouth and dental injuries each year, with 80% affecting the front teeth and with over 5 million teeth knocked out the mouths of children during practice and actual sports competitions. Mouth guards, therefore, will act as an additional protection to prevent the occurrence of grave teeth injuries and other soft tissue (e.g., tongue, gums) damage.
Mouth guards are also important for drivers of vehicles who travel long-distance over rough terrain, or even cowboys who drive cattle across rugged environments. The bumpy rides of all-terrain vehicles and the horses can damage the riders’ teeth. Mouth guards are one preventive measure to avoid potential mouth injury.
In some instances, people who have recently had dental surgery will also require the use of mouth guards to prevent dislodging sutures or irritating the wound. Mouth guards serve to protect areas of the mouth recently operated on from food, saliva, and other irritants.
Mouth guards are also useful for people who wear braces. The protective barrier provided by mouth guards shields the more delicate tissues of the lips, tongue, and gums from the metal of the braces.