Should Everyone Have a Mouthguard?

Jun 02, 2023
Should Everyone Have a Mouthguard?
Not everyone needs a mouthguard. But the people that do usually aren’t aware of it. Keep reading to learn who should invest in a mouthguard, why you need it, and how it protects your teeth.

Everyone doesn’t need a mouthguard. But many people do, including some who aren’t aware they need one to protect their teeth or improve their health.

At Hudgens Dental, located in Charleston, South Carolina, Roy Hudgens, DMD, specializes in custom-fitted mouthguards. These carefully created trays perfectly fit your mouth and provide comfortable protection.

The best way to learn if you need a mouthguard is to understand how they work and why we recommend them.

Protect your mouth during sports

A properly fitted mouthguard prevents tooth and mouth injuries while playing sports. Athletic mouthguards typically cover your top teeth. They’re specially designed to absorb the impact of a blow to your mouth.

Mouthguards significantly lower the risk of breaking, chipping, or losing a tooth. They also protect you from cutting or injuring your lips, gums, or mouth.

There’s no doubt a mouthguard is essential during high-impact sports, such as football, soccer, hockey, and basketball. But don’t underestimate the potential for dental injuries during any physical activity.

You or your child could just as easily damage your teeth while skateboarding, biking, or rollerblading. Even at the playground, your child could fall or experience a blow to the mouth. 

Treat dental conditions

The following dental conditions are treated with mouthguards:

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder

The temporomandibular joints connect both sides of your lower jaw to your skull. Problems affecting the joint or its supporting muscles, ligaments, and discs cause TMJ disorder. Some top causes include arthritis, teeth grinding, inflammatory conditions, jaw injuries, or a misaligned jaw. 

You can usually tell you have TMJ disorder by symptoms, such as:

  • Jaw pain
  • Face or neck pain
  • Jaw clicking
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Teeth sensitivity (with no decay or infections)

Mouthguards worn at night are the primary treatment for TMJ disorder.

Teeth grinding (bruxism)

Bruxism refers to clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. You could do this during the day without realizing it, especially when you’re stressed, anxious, or angry. Many people grind their teeth at night while sleeping.

Teeth grinding puts an incredible amount of pressure on your teeth. Without treatment, the pressure wears down the tooth enamel, causing cracked or chipped teeth and straining the temporomandibular muscles and joints.

The only way to protect your teeth is with a mouthguard. While you’ll need one at night, we can also develop a transparent mouthguard to confidently wear during the day.

Stop snoring and treat sleep apnea

When you sleep, your tongue and other soft tissues can relax, move toward the back of your mouth, and block your airway. Snoring begins when the airway is partially covered. Your snoring gets louder as more of the passage is blocked.

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is completely obstructed, and you can’t breathe. As your oxygen levels quickly plummet, your brain goes on alert and wakes you just enough to resume breathing.

It’s essential to treat sleep apnea to prevent complications like daytime fatigue, memory loss, high blood pressure, weight gain, and heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat).

There are two primary treatments for sleep apnea: continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and a mouthguard (oral appliance). Mouthguards are just as effective as CPAP, and they don’t cause the side effects that cause so many people to stop using CPAP.

Customized oral appliances for sleep apnea consist of two trays that comfortably fit over your upper and lower teeth. The trays are connected by an adjustable device that holds the lower tray in a forward position.

Ensuring your jaw stays slightly forward means your tongue can’t fall back and block the airway. When you wear the mouthguard, your snoring and sleep apnea stop.

Do you need a mouthguard?

If you or your child engage in athletics or have TMJ disorder, bruxism, snoring, or sleep apnea, it’s time to connect with Hudgens Dental and learn more about the benefits of custom-fitted mouthguards. Call the office or book an appointment online today.