Up to 40 percent of dental injuries in adolescents and adults occur during organized sports; such as football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer. To minimize the risk of injury to the face, teeth, jaw and head, mouth guards are recommended for everyone regardless of your age or skill level. As an athlete, one of the biggest complaints regarding mouth guards is that they are uncomfortable. Consequently, many wonder why their mouth guard is uncomfortable?
In this article, we will explore the question of comfort, and find solutions to make your experience with wearing a mouth guard, a better one.
In order to comfortably breath and speak with your mouth guard in place, unnecessary material in "free flow areas" of your guard is something that must be eliminated. "Free flow areas", are the zones in your mouth that make breathing and speaking possible. These include; the roof of your mouth, the area behind your second molars, as well as the area behind the back of your front teeth. A proper mouth guard must not have excess material in the "free flow area". Not only does extra material not offer added protection, it is actually harmful to your performance since it is restrictive and uncomfortable. It reduces your ability to breath easily and speak properly while wearing the mouth guard.
Make sure your mouth guard's "free flow zones" are clear and unobstucted. For best results, you can lightly trim excess material in the free flow area after molding the mouth guard to your teeth.
If your mouthguard doesn't fit tightly against your teeth, you must repeat its molding process to obtain the proper fit or change the mouth guard altogether. Every mouth is different, in order for you to get the proper protection and comfort your mouth guard must fit the exact structure of your mouth.
You need to get the best fit you can, and that means you want a mouth guard that has thorough and detailed fitting instructions. Your mouth structure is unique to you and by carefully following the designed instructions, the mouth guard will mold to your teeth and offer a tight and exact fit.
For optimal mouth protection, a minimum material thickness of 3mm is required in all impact zones which are the areas in the front of the teeth and under the molars. If your mouth guard feels too bulky, the guard might be engineered with low quality material, or might not be made for your specific sports needs. Depending on your sport, the impact zones will change, and consequently, the design of the mouth guard must be adapted.
Make sure your mouth guard protects the important impact zones for your sport. For example, sports like ice hockey where facemasks are worn, demand protection against upper and lower jaw collisions. However, for sports like field hockey, frontal mouth protection is needed. Material placement and your particular sport go hand and hand when choosing your model.
To find a guard designed for your needs, please visit the article entitled "What mouthguard should I buy".