Athletes in high impact sports such as hockey, football, boxing, and martial arts need to wear a mouth guard in their mouth at all times while participating in their sport. A boil and bite mouthguard protects not only the teeth but the gums, lips, facial bones, and cheeks. It does this by absorbing the force of a blow to the face and redistributing the energy out and away from the facial area. Here is how to use one of these customizable mouth saving guards properly.
Choose the Right Size
A boil and bite mouthguard comes in a variety of sizes and is customized at home through a simple process. When choosing a mouth guard to purchase, make sure to purchase one that will cover all of the athlete’s teeth. A snug fit is important for comfort and protection. If it is loose, it can move around in the mouth and interfere with speaking and breathing. A loose guard can also cause the wearer to clench his or her teeth and negatively impact the protective qualities of the guard.
Mouthguards are worn for many sports, so be sure to choose the correct kind of mouthguard for your particular sport. Athletes that are in a sport with a low risk of blows to the face can use a mouthguard with a thickness of one-sixteenth of an inch. A heavy contact sport such as hockey would require the use of a guard that is at least one-eighth of an inch. Extreme high contact sports use even thicker guards.
How to Customize
The thermoplastic materials of the boil and bite mouthguard make it able to be easily customized. True to its name, the new guard must be put into hot water to temporarily soften the material for customization. After the correct time in the boiling hot water, the guard is placed in the mouth to be formed. The customized impression is made by biting into the guard and using the tongue and lips to help form it into the correct shape.
The fit should be comfortable after customization, but if there is any part of the guard that is irritating to the top of the gums, a very slight bit of the guard can be trimmed. Make sure that the thickness of the guard is preserved in the areas where the teeth come together. Protection may be lessened if the plastic between the teeth is too thin. When cool, the guard will regain its stiffness in order to absorb the force of blows to the mouth.
Mouthguards provide the necessary protection, and many youth sports programs require them. Although your child may object to wearing it at first, using mouthguards will become normal to them over time. It will help that all of their teammates are wearing them too. Be a good sport and take the time and attention to ensure that the mouthguard you buy gets customized to a proper and comfortable fit.