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Many people may be wondering: what's the difference between a sport mouth guard and a dental night guard? Can I use a sport mouth guard for teeth grinding?

We do not recommend using a sports mouth guard to help cure teeth grinding. This article will explain why.

Many of us have grown up seeing pro athletes wear mouth guards and have personally used them while playing sports to protect our teeth. If these mouth guards provide tooth protection, why not just buy a sports mouth guard to protect your teeth from bruxism? Here are 3 important differences between athletic guards and night guards.

Teeth Coverage

A sports mouth guard is designed to cover both teeth and gums, whereas a night guard is designed to cover the teeths biting surfaces only. Because gum tissue is easily susceptible to irritation and inflammation, having bacteria trapped against your gums over an extended period of time while you sleep will cause your gum health to deteriorate quickly. If a full coverage mouth guard is worn throughout a nights sleep, the mouths natural cleansing system is hindered enormously. For optimal oral health, the mouth guard must be thin enough to not cover the gums and allow the saliva to flow naturally around the teeth cleansing the mouth and reducing bacteria growth. 

Wear Time

A sports mouth guard will most likely be worn for just an hour or two here and there during games, practice, workouts, etc. A night guard will be worn throughout your sleep, for approximately 8 consecutive hours 7 days a week. Since your mouth is a warm, dark and moist environnement, a mouth guard can easily become a bacterial breeding ground. I wouldn’t want my gums stuck in this bacteria wildfire all night, and you shouldn’t either!

The Material

A night guard is meant to protect the teeth from clenching and grinding during sleep and it is fabricated using a material that is not as thick but strong enough to protect the users teeth enamel.

A sport mouth guard is an appliance that is prescribed to an athlete to protect his teeth from being damaged from a physical blow to the face or an accident. They are usually made with a thicker material in high impact zones and given its purpose, is made to cover the entire jaw, the front teeth and gums. 


For clenchers and grinders reading, we recommend sticking with an oral appliance specific to night bruxism. To all athlete readers, please use your athletic mouth guard for athletic endeavors only. If you are an athlete who suffers with bruxism, you will want to use two different guards specific to each cause. The purposeful design differences protect in very different ways. 

For more information on our sports mouth guards, please visit our section entitled " What Sports Use Mouthguards? "

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