Mouth Guards Fact Sheet

Anyone who is playing a sport where dental injury may occur should wear a mouth guard. Athletes with braces or orthodontic appliances should strongly consider wearing a mouth guard for all sports.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a mouth guard should be worn for all contact or collision sports, such as:

Baseball Ice Hockey Skydiving
Basketball Lacrosse Soccer
Bicycling Martial Arts Softball
Boxing Racquetball Squash
Equestrian Rugby Volleyball
Field Hockey Shot-put Water Polo
Football Skateboarding Wrestling

Types of Mouth Guards

  1. Stock—This is an off-the-shelf mouth guard that is pre-formed and can not be altered. They tend to be bulky and hard to breathe through. It is the least effective at protecting your teeth from injury.
  2. Boil and Bite—These are the most commonly used. After the guard is placed in hot water, you bite into it, imprinting their teeth into the rubber. If you bite too hard, the protection becomes too thin. (These guards lose their effectiveness over time because athletes tend to chew through parts of the mouth guard until it is too small to protect their teeth.)
  3. Custom Molded—These are the best guards you can buy. They are also the most expensive. Both sports medicine physicians and dental professionals recommend these mouth guards for protection. They are custom molded to your teeth, and can even be personalized with your name and team colors. If you have braces, this is the best choice for you. Contact your dentist to see if they make them, or consider internet ordering is also through companies such as O-Pro (online at The cost of a custom mouth guard ranges from $40 to $60. However, it is still less expensive than treatment for serious dental injuries.

Also, never cut down the back (molar) portion of the mouth guard. This part of the mouth guard serves an important role in preventing dental injury.

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