Mouth Guards

What is a mouth guard?

A mouth guard is a protective device that fits inside the mouth to protect the teeth. The most common type of mouth guard fits around the top teeth. The bottom teeth are protected when the mouth guard overlaps them. Some mouth guards fit both top and bottom teeth.

Mouth guards are available in sporting good stores and come in several sizes. Many mouth guards can be custom-fitted by boiling them and biting into the mouth guard or by pouring a gel into the mouth guard that solidifies when you bite into it. A mouth guard may also be custom-made by your dentist.

Why wear a mouth guard?

Teeth are important. Mouth guards should always be worn in contact sports such as football, lacrosse, hockey, and rugby. It is recommended that they be worn in other sports such as basketball. A mouth guard not only protects the teeth but acts as a shock absorber during head contact. Mouth guards may lower the risk of getting a concussion.

Written by Pierre Rouzier, MD, for RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2010-11-17
Last reviewed: 2011-06-07
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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