Are You Protected? 4 Ways To Check The Fit Of Your Mouthguard
No matter what sport you play and no matter what level you play at, mouthguards are likely a mandatory part of your uniform. And just like your helmet or shin pads, your mouthguard is meant to protect you from costly injuries.
So how do you ensure that your mouthguard is protecting you properly? Just check the fit.
The fit of your mouthguard is the most important factor when it comes to being properly protected; but how do you check the fit? Here are four easy tips to see if your mouthguard fits correctly:
1. Go Gag-free
It’s pretty simple: If your mouthguard makes you gag, something is clearly wrong with your mouthguard.
A common myth about mouthguards is that they need to completely cover all of the upper teeth. But that is actually false and part of the reason why your mouthguard is making you gag.
In order to keep you from gagging, your mouthguard must avoid the soft palate — the fleshy, flexible part toward the back of the roof of the mouth. That means your mouthguard must end between the end of the first molar and midway through the second.
And don’t worry, a mouthguard cut properly actually provides better protection, as too much material towards the molars actually makes the mouthguard more uncomfortable without providing any additional protection. That material also makes it difficult to open and close your mouth. Your guard should fit snug against your upper teeth, without needing to bite or clench the mouthguard…
2. Don’t Bite Or Clench
If you have to bite or clench to keep your mouthguard in place, your mouthguard does not fit properly.
Again, your mouthguard should stay securely and tightly on your upper teeth without falling out or shifting. And you definitely shouldn’t have to adjust it or play with it on the field, court or ice, as that distraction may take your head out of the game.
3. Protecting Your Roots
While your mouthguard shouldn’t completely cover your entire upper jaw, it must fit over part of your gums.
Your mouthguard helps to protect your gums from lacerations, and more importantly, shields the roots of your teeth. Just because your teeth are covered by your guard doesn’t mean the roots are fully protected and teeth can’t be dislodged by contact.
4. Speak Clearly
Another way to check the fit of your mouthguard is to simply talk. Your mouthguard shouldn’t interfere with your speech or breathing, so if you can’t speak or breathe clearly, your mouthguard isn’t the right fit.
The material of your mouthguard should be limited or removed entirely from the free flow space in your mouth — the area behind the back of your front teeth and on the inside of your molars. This allows you to speak, breathe and even drink without removing your guard.
When it comes to the fit of your mouthguard, it simply needs to be comfortable. If your mouthguard is uncomfortable in any way, you have the wrong mouthguard and are not properly protected.