With over 5 million teeth being knocked out each year, mouthguards are a necessity for all contact sports players. The selection process for a sports mouthguard should include an evaluation of the differences between custom fitted guards and off-the-shelf varieties.
What are custom-fitted mouthguards?
Mouthguards are a removable shield that is worn over your teeth to protect the teeth and jaws from injury during sporting activities. Custom-fitted guards are made by dentists so that they fit precisely within the mouth of the wearer.
Why custom-fitted mouthguards are recommended
There are several compelling reasons why custom-fitted mouthguards are the recommended choice:
- the national dental associations and most sports authorities recommend the use of professionally made and custom-fitted mouthguards by players during contact and collision sporting games
- custom fitted mouthguards are precisely designed to match the contours of the structure a player’s mouth, making them the most comfortable fitting mouthguard and the type that players will elect to wear during play
- custom fitted mouthguards are designed for optimal oxygen flow and the more oxygen an athlete takes in, the better their performance, endurance and communication will be on the field
Why off-the-shelf guards are the lesser option
Off-the-shelf mouthguards pale in comparison to their custom-fitted counterparts because:
- athletes often struggle with the large and uncomfortable design and discard them before the end of play
- off-the-shelf boil-and-bite mouth guards are known to impede breathing and speech
- generic boil-and-bite oral guards bought over-the-counter are often cheap in price because they’re little more than chunks of rubber that can be chewed through
The benefits of custom-fitted mouthguards
Custom-fitted mouthguards provide sports players with optimal protection for teeth. Their tailored fit to an athlete’s mouth means that they’re not an encumbrance to the player. Custom-fitted mouthguards can also benefit coaches, team managers and sponsors as they minimise risk to sports players for whom they are responsible.