With school underway, parents have a lot on their shopping lists. There are new clothes and shoes to be added to the wardrobe and school supplies to be replenished, but have you thought about a new mouthguard?
Although it may not be immediately obvious, this is the ideal time of year to assess the state of your child’s mouthguard and, if necessary, replace it. In this blog, we take a look at three of the most common reasons a student might need to replace their mouthguard, so keep reading to learn more:
1. The Mouthguard Is Worn
When determining wear-and-tear, there are a number of telltale signs to watch for including:
- Cracks, tears, or frays in the mouthguard itself. Usually these will be due to things like chewing or improper storage.
- Deformities in its shape. If an athlete has a mouth-adapted style mouthguard, you can try re-boiling and re-shaping it (according to the directions for your specific mouthguard). If that doesn’t restore the fit, however, that means that it’s time to replace the mouthguard.
Another thing to keep in mind is the effect of prolonged use. Although high-quality mouth-adapted mouthguards can technically last anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on how they’re used and how well they’re cared for, we recommend replacing your mouthguard annually in order to maximize both its hygiene and effectiveness. Timing mouthguard replacements with the start of a new school year can be a good tactic to keep this rhythm with students.
What can you do to keep your mouthguard clean? Read our blog to find out!
2. The Mouthguard Is Too Small
Usually, this will become a problem as the wearer ages and their mouth changes. Ultimately, a properly fitted mouthguard should:
- End somewhere between the first and second molars. This will prevent it from coming into contact with too much of the wearer’s soft palate, which can cause them to gag.
- Cover all of the teeth (except the back molars) and some of the gum. If it’s too high it will be uncomfortable to wear, and if it’s too short it will leave the roots of the teeth vulnerable.
- Stay securely in place without intervention. If you need to clamp your teeth together to keep your mouthguard where you set it or if you can loosen it easily with your tongue, it isn’t tight enough.
Many mouth-adapted mouthguards are available in different sizes, most commonly junior and senior, to adapt to users’ mouths as they change. If a student has been wearing a junior or child-sized mouthguard for a few seasons that is now too small, that means it’s time to upgrade to a senior.
How do you know if a mouthguard is a good fit? Read our blog to learn more about the four signs!
3. The Wearer Now Has Braces
Getting braces shouldn’t mean compromising on comfort or protection. If this year is a student’s first wearing braces, it’s crucial to choose a suitable braces-compatible mouthguard.
The two questions we hear most often on this topic are does someone need to wear a mouthguard when they have braces and, if they do, can they use a normal (or non-braces-compatible) mouthguard? The answer to the first question is yes. Not only do the teeth continue to need protection, so too do the braces themselves. Without a mouthguard in place, an impact to the face could cause damage to orthodontic appliances like brackets and wires, leading to expensive dental bills for replacements or repairs. To answer the second question, that is something we would strongly recommend against, as regular mouthguards are simply not designed to accommodate for braces.
Fortunately, there are a variety of braces-compatible mouthguards available for braces-wearing athletes. Makura’s own LITHOS™ features our proprietary ORTHO CHANNEL™, designed to fit carefully and securely over braces.
Whatever an athlete’s age or type of sport, ensuring they are using the right mouthguard is the best way to keep their mouths and teeth protected during play.
At Makura Sport, our mission is simple—to provide you with mouthguards that exceed expectations and make us the protection of choice for athletes around the world. Contact us today to learn more!
Like this? Check out:
- Safety in Sport: Why Mouthguards Matter in Field Hockey
- Safety in Sport: Why Mouthguards Matter in Rugby
- How to Keep Your Mouthguard Clean
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