Wilderness First Aid Q&A

Using a mouthguard to protect your teeth


Active kids call for active safety! And while helmets, goggles and kneepads protect your head and body, it’s also important to protect your teeth. A mouthguard is an easy, reliable way to safeguard your teeth during sports and play.

Using a mouthguard can prevent injury to your tongue, lips, face and jaw. Guys who wear braces should be particularly careful to protect their mouths.

Mouthguards are especially crucial during contact sports such as football, hockey or boxing, where blows to the body and face are regular occurrences. But even non-contact sports, such as gymnastics, skating or biking – pose a risk to your teeth.

A quick trip to your dentist can help you choose a mouthguard that’s right for your mouth. There are three basic types:

Stock Mouthguards. Can usually be bought wherever sporting equipment is sold. Most dentists do not recommend them because they cannot be adjusted to your mouth and provide only limited protection.

Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards. Boil-and-Bite guards are softened with hot water and then molded over your child’s teeth. This somewhat-custom fit leads to better protection and greater ease in talking and breathing. These are also available at most sporting goods stores.

Custom Mouthguards. Your dentist can create a custom mouthguard designed specifically for your child’s teeth. These offer the best fit, comfort and protection, but might be more costly than store-bought varieties.

Comments about “Using a mouthguard to protect your teeth”

  1. Pumpkin21 says:

    I chipped my teeth playing basketball and that’s when I rely considered getting a mouth guard.

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  • Dr. Andrew C. Krakowski is the host of the boonDOCS Wilderness & Travel Medicine show on Outdoor Channel. He is the founder of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's wilderness medicine program and currently works in the field of pediatric dermatology at the Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.

    Dr. K loves the outdoors and believes that knowledge, adaptability, and experience are essential for being prepared in the wilderness.

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