Skip to Content

How to Wear Mouth Guard: A Comprehensive Guide for Everyday Use

Heorhii Rysak
2023-11-29

Have you ever thought about how a small piece of equipment can be a game-changer in protecting your smile? Yes, we’re talking about mouthguards! Whether you’re an athlete, a nighttime teeth grinder, or someone looking for dental protection, understanding how to use a mouthguard correctly is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the simple steps of using, wearing, boiling, and fitting a mouthguard.

How to Boil Mouth Guard

Step 1: Preparing Your Fitting Kit

Before you start fitting your mouthguard, make sure you have all the necessary items ready. This includes:

  • The mouthguard itself
  • A pair of scissors for trimming
  • A pot or container with enough boiling water to completely immerse the mouthguard
  • A bowl filled with ice water to cool the mouthguard down after heating
  • A towel for drying

Step 2: Customizing the Length of Your Mouthguard

To ensure your mouthguard fits comfortably, you might need to trim its length. Before boiling it, try putting the mouthguard in your mouth. If it feels too long or uncomfortable at the back near your jaw, use scissors to trim off the excess. Remember, the main purpose of a mouthguard is to protect your front teeth, so it doesn’t need to extend all the way to your molars. Trim to what feels comfortable for you.

Step 3: Softening the Mouthguard in Boiling Water

Now, it’s time to soften the mouthguard. Boil water in a pot or in the microwave, ensuring there’s enough to fully submerge the mouthguard. Carefully place the mouthguard in the boiling water, either by holding it with a strap if it has one, or using a slotted spoon if it doesn’t. If you have braces or other dental work, boil it for about 30 seconds to avoid it fitting too tightly around them. Otherwise, aim for 30 to 60 seconds.

Step 4: Molding a Mouthguard to Your Teeth

After boiling, quickly dry the mouthguard with a towel and place it in your mouth, aligning it with your upper teeth. It won’t be too hot to handle. Use your thumbs to press the mouthguard against your molars and bite down to make an impression. Suck the guard against your upper teeth and press your tongue against the roof of your mouth for a snug fit. This process should be quick, taking no more than 20 seconds. Remember, don’t chew or move the mouthguard around in your mouth during this step.

Step 5: Cooling and Final Adjustments

Why use a mouth guard?

Using a mouthguard in boxing is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Protects Teeth and Gums: Boxing involves a high risk of impact to the face. A mouthguard helps cushion blows that might otherwise cause broken teeth, damaged gums, and even jaw injuries. It acts as a barrier between the teeth and any external force, reducing the risk of tooth fractures or displacement.
  2. Reduces Risk of Concussions: While a mouthguard can’t completely prevent concussions, it can reduce their severity. By absorbing and dispersing the force of a blow, a mouthguard can lower the impact transferred to the skull and brain.
  3. Prevents Jaw Injuries: During intense boxing matches, there’s a risk of jaw injuries from either direct hits or clenching. A mouthguard helps distribute the force of a blow more evenly and can prevent the lower jaw from slamming into the upper jaw, which could lead to fractures or dislocation.
  4. Protects Against Soft Tissue Injuries: Without a mouthguard, a sudden hit can cause your teeth to cut into your lips, tongue, or cheeks. This kind of soft tissue injury is not only painful but can also lead to significant bleeding and require medical attention.
  5. Enhances Focus and Confidence: Knowing that you have a layer of protection can give a boxer more confidence in the ring. It allows them to focus on their technique and strategy, rather than worrying about dental injuries.
  6. Mandatory in Competitions: In most boxing competitions, wearing a mouthguard is mandatory. This rule is enforced to ensure the safety of the athletes and to minimize the risk of oral injuries during the match.
  7. Long-term Oral Health: Regular boxers who neglect the use of mouthguards may face long-term dental issues. Using a mouthguard is a preventive measure that helps maintain oral health over time, avoiding costly and painful dental procedures in the future.

What are the different types of boxing mouth guards?

In boxing, there are several types of mouthguards available, each with its own features and benefits. Here’s a breakdown of the different types:

Stock Mouthguards:

  • Description: These are pre-formed and ready to wear. They can be bought at most sporting goods stores.
  • Pros: Inexpensive and readily available.
  • Cons: Often bulky, less comfortable, and provide minimal protection because they don’t conform to the athlete’s teeth.

Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards:

  • Description: These mouthguards are made from thermoplastic material. They are placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth to form a customized fit.
  • Pros: More customizable fit than stock mouthguards; better comfort and protection; affordable.
  • Cons: The fit might not be as precise as custom-made mouthguards, and they can lose their shape over time.

Custom-Fitted Mouthguards:

  • Description: These are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on a dentist’s instructions. A detailed mold of the teeth is first taken and the mouthguard is constructed over the mold.
  • Pros: Offers the best fit and protection; more comfortable; can be tailored for specific sports and athlete’s needs.
  • Cons: More expensive; requires a visit to a dental professional to get fitted.

Double Mouthguards:

  • Description: Covers both the upper and lower teeth, often used by athletes who have braces or other dental appliances.
  • Pros: Offers protection for both sets of teeth; ideal for boxers with braces.
  • Cons: Can be more bulky and uncomfortable; may impede breathing and speaking.

Mouthguards for Braces:

  • Description: Specially designed for athletes with braces, these mouthguards are constructed to fit over orthodontic appliances.
  • Pros: Provides protection for both the braces and the teeth; helps avoid lacerations inside the mouth.
  • Cons: May need more frequent replacement as teeth move due to orthodontic treatment.

Lip Guard Mouthguards (Mouthguards with Lip Protection):

  • Description: These include a lip guard, which extends protection to the lips and face.
  • Pros: Extra protection for the lips, which are also vulnerable in boxing.
  • Cons: Can be bulkier and may limit communication.

Each type of mouthguard offers different levels of protection, comfort, and cost. The choice often depends on the boxer’s specific needs, comfort preference, and budget. For professional boxers or those engaged in intense training, custom-fitted mouthguards are generally recommended due to their superior fit and protection.

Conclusion

Mouthguards are invaluable assets for dental health. Learning how to fit a mouth guard properly, along with understanding its correct usage, wearing, and boiling techniques, is more than just a measure of dental protection; it’s an investment in your overall wellbeing. A well-fitted mouthguard plays a critical role in safeguarding your teeth, potentially making the difference between maintaining a lifelong healthy smile and facing unforeseen dental emergencies. Embrace the protection that mouthguards offer and ensure your smile stays bright and enduring!

FAQs

How Should a Mouth Guard Fit for Boxing?

A mouth guard for boxing should fit snugly over the upper teeth. It should be comfortable, allow easy breathing and speaking, and not cause gagging. It must stay in place securely during vigorous movement without needing constant adjustment

Can I Wear a Lower Mouth Guard in Boxing?

Yes, you can wear a lower mouth guard in boxing, especially if you have dental work on your lower teeth. It provides extra protection but might feel bulkier. Consult with a dentist or coach to ensure proper fit and comfort.

Can Boiling Damage My Mouth Guard?

Boiling a mouth guard for too long can damage it. Excessive heat can warp the material, altering its fit. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on boiling time and handle it carefully to prevent deformation and ensure longevity.

What Should I Do If the Mouth Guard Doesn’t Fit Well After Boiling?

If the mouth guard doesn’t fit well after boiling, try molding it again. Reheat it following the instructions, ensuring not to overheat. If it still doesn’t fit, consider purchasing a new one for optimal fit and protection.

How often should I change my mouthguard?

Replace your mouthguard every sports season or annually, depending on usage and wear. Inspect it regularly for signs of damage, such as tears or distortion, and replace it if you experience dental changes or if it becomes uncomfortable to wear.