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Do I Really Need To Protect My Teeth With a Mouth Guard?

Do I Really Need To Protect My Teeth With a Mouth Guard?

You’ve seen athletes in contact sports spit out their mouth guard when they leave the arena. And whether you think that's cool or disgusting, you’ve probably never thought: Where can I get one of those for myself?

But maybe you should. Mouth guards — those rubbery, plastic appliances that fit around your teeth — serve several purposes and can help people in all walks of life, whether you get tackled daily or not.

At Brite Dental Spa in New York, New York, our team of specialists cares for every aspect of your teeth, including their health, their functionality, and their presentability. One of the best-kept secrets in dentistry — the mouth guard — addresses all three areas. 

Still, our patients often ask us why they should wear a mouth guard and if it’s really necessary. If you’re wondering the same thing, we have a couple of questions of our own to help you find out if a mouth guard might be a good idea for you.

Do you play sports?

Since mouth guards are a common piece of equipment in many sports, we figured we’d start here. Some sports are obvious candidates, such as football, rugby, hockey, wrestling, and boxing. But any activity that puts your mouth or face in potential danger (a hard-hit ball, a flying bat, an errant stick) requires a mouth guard to prevent chipped and broken teeth, absorb shock if you take a blow, and keep your tongue and cheeks from getting damaged.

Do you get tension headaches?

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic headaches, you may not realize that your dentist could have the solution. Some types of headaches, especially tension headaches, are often linked to tightened muscles in your jaw, cheeks, and temples. A mouth guard may release some of that tension and relieve your headache pain. 

Do you grind your teeth?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can damage your teeth and also contribute to headaches. Some people grind their teeth when they’re angry, stressed, worried, or deep in thought. Even if you don’t know you grind your teeth, you may be doing it while you sleep. 

The constant pressure and friction wear down the surface of your teeth and cause cracks and fractures. A mouth guard is worn at night (and/or during the day if that’s when you grind) can solve the problem and save your teeth.

Do you have temporomandibular disorder (TMJ)?

TMJ is a problem in your jaw joints called the temporomandibular joints. If they are misaligned, have arthritis, have been injured, or are under repeated pressure from bruxism, you may develop this disorder, which can be severely painful. But a mouth guard runs interference and protects your teeth, relieves pressure, and prevents further misalignment.

Do you snore?

Sometimes snoring is just snoring. When you’re extra tired or have had a few too many drinks, your body relaxes so completely that occasional snoring is inevitable.

But sometimes snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes your breathing to stop many times throughout the night. It happens when the soft tissues in your throat relax and block your upper airway. It’s potentially very dangerous, as it makes your lungs and heart work harder, and of course, stops your breathing. 

A custom-designed mouth guard can position your jaw in such a way that it prevents your tongue and other tissues from falling back into your throat. In the case of obstructive sleep apnea, a mouth guard just may save your life.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may benefit from a mouth guard. To find out more, schedule an appointment with our experts at Brite Dental Spa today. Call us at 646-628-1211 or request an appointment online. 

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