Most people are aware of the importance of a mouth guard in protecting the teeth. They cover the upper or lower teeth and minimise the damage that may occur as a result of contact or accidents. Mouth guards come in handy for children who engage in contact sports, mountain climbing and gymnastics.
Children who have a habit of grinding teeth in their sleep also use mouth guards. The thermoplastic material prevents the constant damage that teeth grinding can cause over time. In spite of all this knowledge, few people understand exactly how mouth guards work when inserted into the mouth.
Absorbing heavy contact
The first and perhaps most important working mechanism of mouth guards is their ability to absorb contact. Mouth guards can protect the teeth from direct contact as a result of an arm, elbow, or other body part when playing a contact sport.
This is one of the main reasons why dentists recommend custom-fitted mouth guards as opposed to stock options that you simply buy at the store. With a custom fit, the mouth guard is designed to hug the teeth tightly and to absorb any contact that may occur on the surface. As a result, issues such as broken or loose teeth are minimised.
Keeping loose teeth in position
Mouth guards also come in handy to hold loose teeth in position within the mouth. For example, if you notice that one of your child's teeth has become loose in its socket, you can use a mouth guard to temporarily hold it in place before visiting a child dentist.
A custom-fitting mouth guard can cover an upper or lower tooth and hold it firmly in place to prevent it from rocking back and forth. In this way, your child can still remain active while waiting for their dental visit.
Keeping the pieces of broken teeth intact
In some cases, very heavy contact can penetrate even the toughest mouth guard. In the event that your tooth breaks while wearing a mouth guard, the broken pieces typically remain in place, unless the mouth guard itself is knocked out of your child's mouth.
If the mouth guard holds a broken tooth intact, the broken pieces can be collected and dipped in milk so they can be reattached by a dentist.
Preventing cheek and tongue lacerations
Heavy contact to the mouth when playing a sport can sometimes cause your child to bite their cheek or tongue. Such accidental bites can cause serious lacerations to the cheek or tongue areas if they're not wearing a mouth guard. However, a proper fitting mouth guard will prevent them from biting these areas, even under heavy contact.