Why Wear A Mouthguard?

29 January 2008



A mouthguard is a devise worn in the mouth that helps prevent injuries to the teeth, lips, cheeks, tongue and jaw.

It is highly recommended that a mouthguardbe worn while playing any sport that involves potential trauma to themouth. A hit from any object to the mouth can cause immediate and unseen damage to the gums and the roots of the teeth that may result in extensive dental injury. Many dental injuries are painful, extremely costly to treat and permanent. Furthermore, a blow to the lower jaw (mandible) can cause damage to the temporal region of the skull, which often results in concussion. Wearing a mouthguard is an excellent way to prevent such damage from occurring.

There are a variety of mouthguards available. These include ready-made mouthguards (also called a stock mouthguard).

This type of mouthguard is the least expensive variety available and can be purchased at many sports shops and Pharmacies. A ready-made mouthguard offers the least protection because it is not made to fit the wearer’s mouth. Many athletes find this type of mouthguard to be bulky, loose and uncomfortable. This mouthguard often interferes with breathing and speaking. Mouth-formed mouthguard (also called self-adapted or boil and bite mouthguard). This type of mouthguard is relatively cheap and can be purchased from sports stores and Pharmacies. It is moulded to fit the wearer’s mouth by boiling the piece in water then biting into the plastic. This type of mouthguard can also be quite bulky and can interfere with breathing and speaking. Custom-made mouthguard. This type of mouthguard is recommended by Dentists. It is individually designed for the wearer’s mouth by a Dentist and is generally comfortable to wear and does not interfere
with speaking and breathing. The custom-made mouthguard is more expensive than the other varieties of mouthguard.

Your Dentist will recommend the type of mouthguard that is appropriate for your age and the sport you play. A soft, pliable mouthguard is suitable for low-impact sports and for children; a less pliable mouthguard is recommended for medium-impact sports; and a heavy duty mouthguard is recommended for high-impact sports.

A properly fitted mouthguard must be protective, comfortable, resilient, tear-resistant, odourless, tasteless, not bulky and cause minimal interference to speaking and breathing. It must have excellent retention, fit, and sufficient thickness in critical areas


Caring for your mouthguard:

  • Rinse the mouthguard thoroughly under cold water after each use.
  • Occasionally clean your mouthguard in a solution of soap and cool water to prevent bacterial build up.
  • Stores your mouthguard in a container containing a small amount of water to prevent it drying out and
    becoming fragile.
  • Like all sports gear,mouthguards wear out and can get damaged. They generally need to be replaced after each sports season.

Fact sheet
April 2006

Why wear a mouthguard?

Every year, dentists are frustrated by treating dental injuries caused by sporting accidents, due to people not wearing a mouthguard whilst playing contact sport.

Anyone who participates in a sport that carries a risk of a knock to the face should wear a mouthguard.

This includes sports where contact is part of the game like football, boxing and rugby, but also collision sports where contact often happens but is not expected or allowed. These include basketball, hockey, water polo, lacrosse, netball, baseball, softball, squash, soccer, BMX bike riding, horse riding, skateboarding, in-line skating, trampolining, cricket (wicket keeping or batting without a helmet), water skiing and snow ski racing.

Why you need a mouthguard
A mouthguard helps cushion a blow to the face that otherwise might result in an injury to the mouth or jaw. A stray elbow, a fall or heavy collision can leave you with chipped or broken teeth, internal damage to a tooth, tooth loss and in severe cases, concussion or a broken jaw.

Injuries like this can lead to long and potentially expensive treatment to restore the teeth and mouth back to normal function and appearance.

According to Australian research, sports injuries account for about one-third of traumatic injuries to teeth. The Sports Medicine Association reports that 50% of children experience some form of dental injury.

Statistics like these reinforce the importance of mouthguards.

Mouthguards, which typically cover the upper teeth, cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth. They also help reduce the risk of jaw fractures and concussion.

When do I wear a mouthguard?
Mouthguards should be worn whilst playing and training for any sport that could involve contact to the face.

Other Mouthguard Tips:
Update your mouthguard every 12 months, to ensure it is fully effective
Keep your mouthguard clean, stored in a rigid container and away from heat to ensure it maintains its shape

For more information on mouthguards and protecting teeth, people can visit www.ada.org.au or call the ADA Inc on (02) 9906 4412.

For more information about Mouthguard Awareness or to speak with an ADA Inc spokesperson, please contact the Porter Novelli Melbourne:

Patrick McClelland Sarah Harvie
Phone: 03 9289 9555 /0409 499 419 Phone:03 9289 9555 / 0402 217 956 Email: pmcclelland@porternovelli.com.au Email: sharvie@porternovelli.com.au