Mouth guards aren’t just for sports, but more than likely, that’s why you’re here. You want to protect your mouth, your braces, and your teeth from injury.
Mouth guards are usually pieces of plastic that surround your teeth in order to cushion any impact. Some are simple, but bulky affairs. Others are custom molded to your mouth and super slim.
A trend in adult mouth guards are those that are worn for sleeping. While not for braces, these mouth guards act similar to retainers. The rigid polymer keeps one or both sets of teeth in set position while protecting them from nightly grinding.
Also called Night Guards, these adult mouth guards are not designed to move teeth into better positions. And while they are not designed to stop movement, long term wearing of them do stop tooth drifting.
Now, onto the protection!
Overall Best Mouth Guards
First, you should determine cost and use. If this is something that will be a rare use, and the need is small, do not go extravagant. If you expect that contact is likely, or that you will be using it often, spend the little bit more and get a mouth guard that fits right. You should talk to the coach to see what types of injures are normal, how often they occurred in the past, and what others have done. There’s no reason to learn everything yourself.
Let’s face it, playing sports or other contact activity increases your chances of damaging your teeth and braces. You don’t want your kid to be the one that looks back and talks about the time they knocked a tooth out during practice, or had to miss the rest of a game to go to the dentist.
Our pick for best overall mouth guard is the custom one from your dentist. But, barring that, we have our picks for best OTC mouth guards. The companies Shock Doctor, Vettex, and Gladiator are dominating the sports scene right now with lines of custom and easy to use mouth guards.
Best Mouth Guard When You Have Braces
When you have braces, you need a mouth guard specifically for braces. This is not an option according to most dentists. The mouth guard needs to be molded to your teeth, able to adapt to your changing teeth patterns, not be caught on braces, yet be strong enough to withstand shock.
The biggest challenge will be to find a mouth guard that does not snag on your braces. We don’t want damaged teeth and braces.
Some of the best sports mouth guard for braces come from Shock Doctor *. These are variable, lightweight, and can be custom fitted for you and your braces. They are reasonably priced, ranging from $10 to over $100. Shock Doctor also has a line of protective gear that is preferred by several universities and professional athletic divisions.
The best feature is that these mouth guards are some of the slimmest and most light weight in their class. The company has a strong reputation and history to back up its claims.
Imagine having to work several hours per day, several days per week in a mouth guard that forces your mouth to stick out. You would want the safest, slimmest model after that.
How To Wear A Mouth Guard With Braces
When you choose a mouth guard, you need to weigh in all the factors. Is protection your goal, cost savings, ease of use, bulkiness, and comfort levels all play a role in determining what mouth guard to use and how to use it.
Simple boil-and-bite mouth guards are the simple plastic ones that you mold to your teeth. These usually aren’t recommended for braces because they are bulky and the plastic may catch on the braces. If this happens, usually a trip to the orthodontist is in order; either to get the mouth guard off your braces or repair your braces.
I used the boil-and-bite ones before, at an event just for fun. Well, I would have been safer and happier to use nothing at all. The thing kept slipping and I had to concentrate to keep it in my mouth. The amount of work it takes to just keep the thing in your mouth would make anyone, even me, want a custom fit, durable, and fitted mouth guard.
All mouth guards have instructions for best use. Custom mouth guards can be the most comfortable and best secure. Some OTC sized mouth guards range in price and quality. Boil-and-bite ones are the most cost effective, but hardest to use and least protective. Additionally, most dentists recommend to never use boil-and-bite guards and always go with mouth guards that are fitted for your mouth.
Unless you are wrestling (which require upper and lower guards by law), an upper guard is more than adequate for your needs. That’s because most combination upper and lower mouth guards do not maintain contact with your teeth and could cause more damage than they prevent. There are also warnings again using double mouth guards when there is a chance that twisting the jaw. It could cause the mouth guard to snap, leaving pieces to become choking hazards.
The better mouth guards, and nearly every custom mouth guard, come with a large, protruding front area that protects against damage to the lower teeth. This protrusion allows for the jaw to move around without sliding off the mouth guard.
Night guards * are well known for this. Although night guards are just mouth guards that prevent grinding of your teeth, they need to adjust to motion, pressure, and sometimes some of the strongest forces, stronger than even being hit on the ball field. The biggest difference between a night guard and sports mouth guard is night guards are most often for the lower teeth, and mouth guards are for upper teeth.
Best Mouth Guard With Lip Guard
Having used a custom mouth guard directly from my dentist, I can certainly say that nothing even comes close to the fit and ease of use. Having the lip guard that fits exactly as I need has not only kept me from biting myself and is still easy enough to wear and hold a conversation.
Vettex’s mouth guards * seem to have one of the best reputations for sports mouth guards that contain a lip guard. These mouth guards are simple, lightweight, although a bit bulkier than normal.
They can be purchased for anywhere from $10 to $100 and more. While they don’t offer custom mouth guards, they do offer a range that is in the more cost effective realm.
Double Braces Mouth Guard With Strap
Gladiator mouth guards are preferred by sports where losing your mouth guard during a match is high. They also seemed to be preferred by wrestling and MMA sports, but several reviews show this may just be a name connotation.
These mouth guards are custom fits. The price ranges from $45 to $200.
Some sports require a strap mouth guard. You should check with your coach to find out if using a strap is beneficial. Even sports without helmets can benefit from a strap. Just be sure that it’s not a sport where the strap can become a liability, like in lacrosse.
Mouth Guards For Braces Top & Bottom
Shock Doctor has the best mouth guards for lower teeth, with their Gravity 2 *. Although for most people lower guards are unnecessary, you may want to look into the lower guard to promote full mouth protection. Now, just so you know, these mouth guards are designed only for use with helmets and full face protection.
Again, most dentist do not recommend using a mouth guard on both bottom and top teeth. You should only use these if it is required, since it offers less protection in many circumstances.
Best Mouth Guard For Braces Reviews
Was looking for a comfortable mouth guard for my 14 year old son. Tried many of the traditional mouth guards, but, because he wears braces, non (sic) were comfortable. They were difficult to shape and all ended up hard and uncomfortable. He loves the Shock Doctor mouth guard. It fit perfectly the very first time he put it in. Liked that we didn't have to boil and shape it. It automatically adjusted to him! He says it's comfortable, easy to breathe and fits well over his braces. Now he can focus on boxing, without be distracted by a mouth guard that hurts and doesn't fit properly. Thanks Shock Doctor!
Love this product. I purchased two as my children each have braces and are in sports. They use this Shock Doctor Mouthguard in Martial Arts daily and love it. Fun color, works great, and even comes with a guarantee, if the teeth are damaged wearing this product during their sports. Can't beat that confidence!
My son who plays strong tackle on his high school football team picked this mouthguard out specifically based on its design for his position. He loves it so he can breath (sic) with the mouth piece.
speaking about Vettex Mouth Guardr
Tapout Mouth Guard For Braces
Tapout * is a new mouth guard that uses a material that is able to remold to your teeth. They state this material can be used with and without braces and will adjust as your bite adjusts. It is also designed to allow air flow around your teeth and in your jaw.
Tapout is a bit more expensive than other brands, but is starting to be favored by some organizations. So far, we haven’t been able to verify independent reviews. But, an Amazon review says this: “Easy product to mold if you follow the instructions. Once molded takes one time using to be comfortable with it, and be able to talk almost normally. Would recommend for basketball.”
Just For Fun: Flavored Mouth Guards For Your Braces
MoGo Sports * has designed the first ever flavored mouth guard. There are a variety of flavors you can choose from.
While not designed for heavy hitting sports, they provide good protection. The biggest drawback to these mouth guards is they are less durable than the other brands mentioned. They are designed for novelty and flavor, not professional performance.
If you are in high school or in a lower contact sport, these work just fine. “My daughter uses this for Jiu jitsu and this is the second one that we've purchased. Keeps it shape, and the flavor was still there with her last one up to the point of her teeth changing enough that we needed this new one.”
When you decide you want a better mouth guard, one that will really stand up to time and punishment, you want to go with the better brands. Yes, they will cost more, however, you get better quality and protection.
Shock Doctor, Vettex, and Gladiator seem to be at the top of the list with products designed for custom fits, durability, dentist recommendations, and comfort.
Remember, when it comes to braces, you don’t want anything that will catch on them. It can be hard on your teeth. The best mouth guard is the one that your dentist will custom fit to your teeth.
Also, remember that your teeth will be changing over the 2-3 years you have braces. And subtle changes happen every 2 weeks. Any mouth guard you obtain will need to adjust for the changes or be replaced often. The three brands we mentioned still will need to adjust with you.
Our last word is this: As you have braces, use a mouth guard that offers the best protection for the most reasonable price. You will need to replace them, probably often. Then, once your teeth are aligned, move up to the professional models of mouth guards. You will find that the protection and comfort you get from a better mouth guard more than makes up for the cost.
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