At Dentists at Pymble, we love getting outdoors. We also know that many of you do too!
Maybe it’s a social game of football with friends on a Sunday afternoon, or a competitive game on a Thursday night. Maybe though football is not your thing and instead its cycling, skateboarding, netball or a personal training session…
Anyway the point is, that it is something that many of us enjoy and look forward to!
However sometimes there can be a tumble… a spill… an accident… a collision…
At, Dentists at Pymble, we know it can happen… and unfortunately, we see it all too often.
For some people though the damage is only minor.
Simply and thankfully because they were wearing a mouthguard!
So, that is what we wanted to talk about in this article. We will start by looking at the purpose of a mouthguard, to the different types and we also cover who and when they should be worn… because in our opinion the more you can do to protect that beautiful smile the better!
What are mouthguards?
Protecting your teeth from injury, especially during sport and exercise, is essential. And a mouthguard is the most common way that we can do this.
Basically, a mouthguard is a thick, rubbery, shield that is worn over your teeth. Often it extends above the teeth to cover the gums and bone as well.
They are designed to buffer or reduce the impact to the teeth, soft tissues (such as your tongue, lips and cheeks), bone and jaw joints.
At, Dentists at Pymble, we like to think of them as a kind of shock absorber.
What dental injuries could happen if you are not wearing a mouthguard?
Mouthguards help to reduce your risk of damage or injury. A few of the most common dental injuries that can occur when participating in sports, exercise or recreational activities, include:
- Broken teeth
- Teeth can be knocked out
- Cuts and lacerations to lips, tongue, cheek, gums or face
- Damage to the bone
- Jaw fractures
While a mouthguard may not always be able to prevent these injuries, they can help to reduce the severity of them.
How important are mouthguards?
At Dentists at Pymble, we believe that mouthguards are extremely important! We like to say that they are just as important as wearing shoes when you are participating in sport or exercise.
What sports should use a mouthguard?
It is worth mentioning that while mouthguards are commonly referred to as sports mouthguards, they can and should be used for exercise and other nonsporting activities too.
For many people they just associate mouthguards with high-contact sports. Like football, water polo, boxing and hockey. However, they are now also commonly recommended for low or non-contact sports… from skateboarding, cycling, tennis, to gymnastics.
Sometimes at, Dentists at Pymble, we even recommend you use them when you are at the gym. As when you lift weight for example, often you will clench your teeth together tightly. This can put the teeth and jaw joints under excessive stress and force.
So, if you play or participate in any sport or exercise then you should speak to your dentist about whether a mouthguard is for you!
When should a mouthguard be worn?
A mouthguard is designed to protect your teeth. It should be worn when playing, but also during any practice or training sessions! Even just when mucking around socially or recreationally with family and friends, they can and should be worn.
Should everyone wear a mouthguard?
In an ideal world, at Dentists at Pymble, we say yes!
For instance, just because someone has braces or is undergoing orthodontic treatment, it does not mean that they can’t wear one. Mouthguards can be made to fit around orthodontic appliances. They can also be made for young children as well.
So, yes, we think everyone should wear one regardless of how low risk the activity or sport may seem. As, like we often say at, Dentists at Pymble, prevention is better than a cure!
Some sports and sporting clubs as well actually have a ‘no mouthguard, no play’ policy! Which we think is fantastic.
What are the different types of mouthguards?
There are three main types of sports mouthguards:
- The first one is the one you buy straight off the shelf, so it is readymade or called a stock mouthguard.
- Then there is the “boil-and-bite” style, which requires you to heat it, by boiling, then trying to mould it to your teeth.
- Finally, there is the custom-made mouthguard, which has been made by a dental professional and has been custom fitted to your teeth.
Which is the best type of mouthguard?
At Dentists at Pymble, we most commonly recommend the custom-made mouthguard.
This is because they have specially designed to fit your teeth but also take into consideration your soft tissues and bony structures. They are also made in accordance to strict guidelines to further help reduce your risk of damage and trauma.
And because they are not a ‘one-size fits all’, often they are more comfortable too. So, it makes you more inclined to wear it!
Now, yes… they are often more expensive than your other options and they do require two trips to the dentist. However, they are cheaper than trying to replace a tooth which has unfortunately been knocked out! So, at Dentists at Pymble, we think that is definitely a worthwhile investment.
How long does it take to make a custom-made mouthguard?
Getting a custom-made mouthguard is quite a simple and easy process. It generally involves just two visits to a dental professional.
The first appointment is to have impressions taken of your teeth. Followed by a second appointment, a few days or weeks later, to have it inserted.
Is a mouthguard comfortable?
As you can imagine, anything in your mouth initially is going to feel a little strange or different. However, it shouldn’t take long for you to adjust to wearing it.
A well-made mouthguard should feel quite comfortable and should not impact on your performance.
It should still allow normal breathing and swallowing and should not impact too much on your speech.
A poorly fitting mouthguard on the other hand may be uncomfortable. As it may be loose or be moving when you are wearing it, which may be a distraction to you. This again is a benefit of investing in a custom-made mouthguard.
If, however, your custom-fit mouthguard feels like it is rubbing, pinching or is to tight you should get it checked by your oral health professional.
How do you care for a mouthguard?
Taking care of your mouthguard is important.
At Dentists at Pymble, when we give someone their new mouthguard we recommend:
- Rinsing it before and after use
- You can clean your mouthguard with soapy water and thoroughly rinse after
- Never to use hot water on the mouthguard
- Always store the mouthguard in its container when not in use
- Store it in a cool, dry place – away from direct heat, like the sun
- Avoid chewing on the mouthguard
- Avoid trying to adjust or alter the mouthguard yourself
Keep it away from pets… for some reason dogs love chewing them and it makes for an expensive chew toy if they do.
Remember if your mouthguard starts to wear, breaks or feels like it is not sitting correctly then return to your dentist to have it checked. It could be a sign that it is due to be replaced.
At Dentists at Pymble, often we recommend that you bring it along to your routine dental check-up. That way we can continue to make sure that it is fitting well, that it is working well and that you are happy with it.
What age should a mouthguard be worn from?
Getting into a habit of wearing a mouthguard from an early age is ideal. So, there is no real age restriction as such… as long as the child understands how to use and wear it appropriately.
And even though your child may only have baby teeth at this time, they are just as important as their adult teeth. But it also helps to protect the bone, which is where the adult teeth are sitting and developing too. Plus, it helps to reduce soft tissue damage, like cuts to the lips, cheek and tongue, that can be quite painful and uncomfortable.
Some sports and sporting clubs will not let children partake without a proper mouthguard.
What colour are mouthguards?
As you have probably seen already, mouthguards come in a range of colours.
When you go to have impressions taken for your mouthguard you will be shown what your colour options are. As the colour range and styles varies between practices and due to availability.
At Dentists at Pymble though, we suggest that if you are wearing a mouthguard for water sports, such as water polo, that you choose a bright, bold colour. As trying to find a clear or white mouthguard in the water if you accidently drop it, is like looking for a needle in a haystack!
How long does a mouthguard last?
It is hard to put a time frame on the lifespan of a mouthguard. This is because it depends on how often you are wearing it, if you are taking care of it but also importantly your mouth.
For example, children who are losing teeth and growing may find that after one season their mouthguard no longer fits. Therefore, at the start of each season it may require replacing.
At Dentists at Pymble, we recommend that you bring your mouthguard along to your routine dental check-ups. That way we can check to ensure that it is still fitting and working well.
What happens if your child has a mouthguard, but they don’t like wearing it?
You are not the first parent to have this problem! So, don’t worry. The first step is to find out why?
For some kids they are not used to wearing it, and take time to adjust, as it feels bulky. If this is the case, practice wearing it for small intervals at a time when at home. This can help to desensitise them.
Other times it may not be comfortable, as it is pinching or rubbing. This can happen if they are growing or have new teeth coming through. So, you may need to return to your dentist to have it checked and adjusted.
Alternatively, some kids don’t think that mouthguards are very ‘cool’ … if this is the case then remind them of all their favourite sporting heroes who wear them! It can also help to remind them of just how important they are and to think about the consequences of not wearing them. And if that fails, then work out with them to add up how much pocket money it would take to replace an adult tooth if they lost it accidentally when playing.
Well, hopefully that answers any questions you may have had about mouthguards.
At Dentists at Pymble, we really cannot express enough how important we think that mouthguards are when it comes to any sports or exercise activity… even if it does seem like it is low risk or is just social or recreational.
Accidents, spills, tumbles and collisions can happen to us all!
So, the more that you can do to protect your smiles the better.
If you would like to arrange an appointment to have a custom-made mouthguard made for you, or someone in your family, then please do not hesitate to contact the practice to arrange an appointment. You can do so by calling us on 02 9488 7555, or you can book online here!
We look forward to hearing from you soon and thank you for reading this article.
- Australian Dental Association. [Media release]. “No mouthguard, no play”, says Australian dentists and sports medicine specialists. 18 June 2015. URL: ‘https://www.ada.org.au/News-Media/News-and-Release/Media-Releases/No-Mouthguard,-no-play,-says-Australia-s-dentist’. Accessed: 18 March 2020.
- Gould TE, Piland SG, Caswell SV, Ranalli D, Mills S, Ferrara MS, Courson R. National athletic trainers’ association position statement: preventing and managing sports-related dental and oral injuries. Journal of Athletic Training. 2016;51(10):821-839.
- Ilia E, Metcalfe K, Heffernan M. Prevalence of dental trauma and use of mouthguards in rugby union players. Australian Dental Journal. 2014;59:473-481.
For more information, please refer to the links below:
- Australian Dental Association. Mouthguards. URL: https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Teens-12-17/Mouthguards
- Sports Medicine Australia. 2015. Mouthguard Policy. URL: https://sma.org.au/resources-advice/policies-and-guidelines/mouthguard-policy/
- American Dental Journal. 2006. Protecting teeth with mouthguards. URL: www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/Files/patient_69.ashx
- American Dental Association. 2019. Mouth Guards. URL: https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/mouthguards