Are mouthguards bad for your teeth?
Is wearing a mouthguard bad for your teeth?
Used to protect the teeth from grinding or clenching while you sleep or from injuries while playing sports, mouthguards are devices many people use on a daily basis.
However, it's important to note that not all mouthguards are designed equally. Depending on your needs, there are 3 main types available. To discover which ones are best for you and to answer some of the most common questions regarding mouthguards, continue reading below.
- Are night guards bad for your teeth?
- Do mouthguards cause tooth decay?
- Can wearing a mouthguard shift your teeth?
- Are night guards bad for your teeth?
Night guards are used most often by people who grind or clench their teeth at night. In fact, night guards are a very useful tool at protecting tooth enamel from long-term damage.
However, even though night guards can protect your teeth and may be a recommended treatment for bruxism, you should always consult a medical professional prior to using one.
In fact, those who grind their teeth at night should be screened for sleep apnea prior to being fitted with a night guard. If the screening results turn out positive for sleep apnea, then treatment for the disorder should take priority before using a night guard. On the other hand, if you don't suffer from sleep apnea, then a night guard will most likely be the best treatment for teeth grinding available.
You should always keep your mouthguard clean, and also make sure you brush your teeth prior to use. Mouthguards are not a one-stop solution for oral health, they can harbour bacteria which can cause gum disease which is why properly cleaning them is very important.
Do mouthguards cause tooth decay?
Mouthguards protect the teeth enamel from grinding damage which reduces the risk of cavities and tooth decay. However,if you don't care for your mouthguard properly, it can actually create an adverse affect and contribute to the development of cavities.
In fact, when you put your night guard in your mouth, not only does it become covered in saliva, but it traps the mouth's natural bacteria up against your teeth while in place. If bacteria remain in contact with your teeth and gums over extended periods of time, your risk of developing cavities can increase.
Luckily, you can prevent this risk from happening with proper oral care and night guard maintenance. Here are a 4 steps you use to reduce the risk of bacteria build-up on your teeth while you sleep at night:
Brush and Floss Your Teeth – Reducing the risk of cavities begins with good oral care. When it comes to wearing a nightguard, you should always brush and floss your teeth prior to putting the night guard in, as this reduces the bacteria that would be trapped on the surface of your teeth.
Always Rinse Your Mouthguard – Before placing your mouthguard in your mouth, always rinse the guard to remove any possible bacteria.
Removing the Guard in the Morning – After you wear your guard overnight, remove the guard and thoroughly clean it with soap and cool water or your toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Let your guard air dry before putting it in the case.
Replace a Damaged Night Guard Immediately – If you notice signs of cracking or tears in your night guard, replace it immediately. Bacteria can hide in these cracks or tears, making it difficult to remove.
Can wearing a mouthguard shift your teeth?
If a mouthguard isn't properly fitting, you can experience teeth shifting. In fact, when wearing an uncomfortable and poorly designed mouthguard, you can experience unevenness in tooth contact which can lead to even more clenching, grinding and TMJ problems.
If you suspect that your night guard is actually moving your teeth and are experiencing jaw pain, we suggest you consult with your dentist as soon as possible.
Is wearing a mouthguard bad for your teeth?
If you suffer from teeth grinding and clenching related symptoms such as tooth pain, jaw pain, and irritated gums,wearing a mouthguard while you sleep can help separate your top and bottom teeth so they don't damage each other from the grinding and clenching pressure.
The 3 Types Of Mouthguards For Teeth Grinding
There are three types of mouth guards for grinding teeth and clenching:
- Over The Counter Mouthguards (OTC Mouthguards).
- Boil & Bite Mouthguards
- Custom Fitted Dentist Guards
1. Over The Counter (OTC) Mouthguards.
Ready to wear out of the box without adjustments, over the counter mouthguards are usually the cheapest mouthguards available. Because they are usually non-moldable, these mouthguards tend to not fit well and can be bulky, uncomfortable and create difficulties breathing. At Nxtrnd, we do not recommend such models for our customers.
2. Boil & Bite Mouthguards For Teeth Grinding.
Found in almost every pharmacy, these mouthguards allow a better and more comfortable fit than OTC mouth guards. The customization process is obtained by placing the guard in hot water and then molding it around your teeth using your fingers and tongue. While boil & bite mouthguards are preferred over non-moldable night guards, they sometimes can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear while sleeping.
For this reason, it is important you purchase a model properly designed and made from the right materials such as the RiseGuard. Made of unique thin materials that remain comfortable and protective in the mouth, the RiseGuard has been named one of the best mouth guards for teeth grinding by critics on Amazon and across multiple bruxism forums.
3. Custom-fitted Dental Night Guards.
Dentist made mouth guards for teeth grinding are usually the best available. Being individually made-to-fit at a professional dental laboratory using an impression of your teeth, they offer good comfort and protection. However, they usually cost approximately $400 or more and are not usually covered by insurance and don't come with warranties. It is also important to note that dentists made mouthguards require frequent adjustments and time consuming appointments in order to get a comfortable fit.
Now, with the RiseGuard, you can order a high quality mouthguard and obtain the same custom fit from the comfort of your home.
The 3 Types Of Mouthguards For Sports
The level of protection a mouth guard provides is entirely dependent on the type of guard worn. When participating in sporting activities, there are three main types of mouthguards available. Before making your final purchasing decision, it's important you understand how each of the following mouth guard types benefit your current sporting needs.
- Stock Sports Mouthguards
- Boil-&-Bite Sports Mouthguards
- Custom Sports Mouthguards
1. Stock Sports Mouthguards
Available in most sporting goods stores, this type of mouthguard is typically the least expensive. Being non moldable, meaning it cannot be individually fit to the wearers teeth, stock mouthguards are usually uncomfortable and are likely to slip off the teeth if too big, or pinch the gums if too small.
In both situations, the discomfort and poor fit reduces its ability to protect the teeth from impact.
2. Boil-&-Bite Sports Mouthguards
Also available at most sporting goods stores, boil-and-bite mouth guards differentiate themselves from stock mouthguards by the custom fit they provide. In fact, the difference between the two models is substantial. After inserting the guard in hot water, a boil-and-bite guard can be comfortably formed to your teeth allowing the perfect fit.
It's important to keep in mind that forming a mouth guard correctly can sometimes be more difficult than it may seem. At Nxtrnd, we know the fitting process is crucial for optimal mouth guard protection and have developed an easy 10 step fitting process to make sure all our guards are correctly fitted.
3. Custom Sports Mouthguards
Obtained through your dentist's office, custom-fit mouthguards tend to be the most expensive. The fitting process involves multiple appointments where the dental specialist will take impressions of your teeth and send them to a laboratory for the guards’ fabrication. If you have the extra money and time, this option will be the best for you.
However, if you're a young athlete, we do not recommend custom-fit mouth guards. In fact, because custom-fit mouthguards allow little room for adjustments, we do not recommend them to athletes that are still growing.
If the athlete’s teeth are still shifting and moving in the mouth, we recommend a mouth guard such as the Nxtrnd Rush which offers a customized fit that is similar to the dentist fabricated models, but at a far lower price and that can be remolded when needed.