During most types of sports, kids and adults should wear mouthguards to protect their teeth. Learn more about different types of mouthguards.
Playing sport is part of a healthy lifestyle, but some sports might put your teeth and jaws at risk if they're not protected. If you or your kids take part in any activities that could cause dental injuries, it's important that you wear a mouthguard.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting a dentist to get a custom-fitted mouthguard. Sometimes the can be more comfortable to wear and offer more protection than mouthguards bought from stores.
Do I need to wear a mouthguard?
Most dental professionals strongly recommended wearing a mouthguard during all sports or activities where there's a risk of teeth getting injured or knocked out.1,2 Mouthguards are a compulsory requirement for some schools and sports clubs.
It's not only contact sports like rugby, football and boxing that can put your teeth at risk either — other activities like cycling and skateboarding also have a high rate of dental injuries.
If your teeth or jaw get injured by impacts with balls, sports equipment, other players or hitting the ground, a mouthguard may cushion the impact and lower your risk of needing dental treatment, surgery and time off work or school.
When do I need to wear a mouthguard?
You should wear a mouthguard during both games and training.
What are the different types of mouthguards?
You can buy mouthguards from sports stores or get a custom mouthguard fitted by your dentist.
Generic mouthguards may be sold ready to wear or as a 'boil-and-bite' mouthguard that moulds to fit your teeth.
These mouthguards offer some protection for your teeth, but they're less comfortable to wear for long periods and they might not be an option if you have protruding or crooked teeth.
A dentist designs a custom mouthguard, aiming for an exact fit for your mouth. Custom mouthguards may offer more protection for your teeth and might be a more comfortable fit. And a more comfortable fit might be an easier sell for kids or teenagers who don’t always feel enthusiastic about wearing their mouthguards.
The Australian Dental Association strongly recommends using custom mouthguards for any activity where there's a chance of collision or contact.2
What’s the best type of mouthguard for braces?
This depends on the kind of braces you’re wearing, so it’s best to ask your orthodontist for a custom mouthguard.
How is a mouthguard fitted?
If you choose a custom mouthguard for yourself or your child, your dentist will take a mould of your teeth so the mouthguard will be a perfect fit. You might be able to choose the colour of the mouthguard, which will normally be made off-site at a dental laboratory.
When your mouthguard's ready, your dentist will check that it fits comfortably and give you advice about how to care for it.
How long do custom mouthguards last?
With proper care, a custom mouthguard can last 12–18 months with regular use. If you’re an adult who only uses your mouthguard occasionally, it might last a few years. Kids and teens might need to replace their mouthguards more often, since their teeth and jaws are still developing.
To help get the most out of your mouthguard:
- keep it in a clean storage box with air holes, away from sources of heat and direct sunlight that could make it lose its shape
- carefully wash the mouthguard with soap and warm water after each use
- let it air dry after washing.
If a mouthguard shows signs of wear or damage, you should try to replace it as soon as possible. Your dentist or orthodontist can check your mouthguard if you bring it along to your regular check-ups.
How much does a mouthguard cost?
A custom-fitted mouthguard costs more than one bought in a store, but emergency dental care to repair damage to your teeth or jaw might cost a lot more. A dentist can give you a more precise quote.
Be aware that average price ranges can only tell you so much. Costs can vary based on your circumstances, location and dental provider.
Mouthguard cost Australia
The average cost of a mouthguard in 2018 was between $121–$330
Mouthguard cost New Zealand
The average cost of a mouthguard in 2018 was $233.
Paying for mouthguards
As a preventative treatment, mouthguards may be covered by some health funds if your plan includes dental care. And you may be able to pay nothing for kids’ mouthguards if you're eligible for government-funded dental services.
Questions about mouthguards?
1 American Dental Association. Mouth Guards. [Online] 2019 [Accessed July 2019]. Available from: www.ada.org
2 Australian Dental Association. Mouthguards. [Online] 2019 [Accessed July 2019]. Available from: www.ada.org.au
The purpose of this article is to promote better understanding of dental health topics. It’s not meant to replace professional advice or diagnosis. Always talk to a dentist, doctor or other qualified healthcare professional if you have a question about dental or medical conditions.