MINNEAPOLIS – – As students head back to school, the Minnesota Dental Association (MDA) reminds parents and student athletes about the importance of mouthguards.  Mouthguards are a key player in preventing mouth and facial related injuries.  Mouthguards help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a good way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.

“A mouthguard is a small piece of equipment that can have a large impact in preventing mouth-related injuries and lost teeth.  I’ve seen many unfortunate instances of lost teeth due to simply not wearing a mouthguard during sports and recreational activities.  That is why it’s important to add mouthguards to your back to school shopping list,” says MDA President Dr. David Resch.

There are several types of mouthguards. The most effective is custom made for your mouth. However, if you don’t have access to a custom made one, a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard should still be worn. A properly fitted mouthguard will stay in place and be easy for users to talk and breathe while wearing.

Custom-made: These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than other versions because they are individually created for fit and comfort.

Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and pharmacies and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.

Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

For more resources and information about oral health visit www.mndental.org/public.

The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at www.mndental.org.