Mouthguard: For Grinding, Snoring, Apnea, Sports, Braces

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: February 13, 2023

Mouthguard: For Grinding, Snoring, Apnea, Sports, Braces

Mouthguards are dental equipment that shields teeth from many types of harm and protects them. If one plays contact sports, this oral appliance helps to protect their upper teeth and it also safeguards them from grinding or clenching while sleeping. Additionally, they assist in snore reduction and obstructive sleep apnea relief which requires treatment from numerous medical specialists. However, mouthguards are not only intended to be worn while playing sports.

If one is using braces to adjust their teeth into the right places, one can still use mouthguards. It protects our cheeks, gums, teeth, tooth pulp, and tongue against harm or injuries sustained while playing sports or from other possibilities of high-danger facial impact. Mouthguards serve as a cushion against these impacts. The jaws, teeth, or skull will be subjected to less force because of the thick, spongy material’s ability to absorb the shock and conceal the teeth.

They serve a variety of functions and can be purchased at a store or built to order by a dentist. Every mouthguard sold at pharmacies or convenience stores needs to be assessed to see if it meets individual demands. They come in a variety of forms and dentists suggest them for various reasons. The use of mouthguards is advantageous for both children and adults. Generally, these are worn across the top teeth.

In some cases, the dentist could also advise getting a mouthguard for the bottom teeth. It’s crucial to always use a mouthguard because some risks of not doing so include having teeth knocked out, moved, or damaged. The direct facial impact can cause a force to pass through the jaw, teeth, and even the top of the skull when it strikes the bottom portion of the face. Mouthguards are advised by dentists for a variety of reasons.

One might require them in case of-

  • Teeth-gritting or clenching.
  • Participating in contact sports like boxing, basketball, hockey, football, or soccer.
  • Taking part in high-fall risk pursuits like ice skating, motorcycling, or gymnastics.
  • Snoring.
  • Suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Having TMJ disorder.

Due to a facial injury, one or more teeth may be lost and when the lower jaw is struck, it could crash together and harm both rows of teeth. Others may be cracked or chipped, the jaw may be fractured, or the soft tissues of the mouth may be hurt. Lips and gums can suffer from dental trauma as well. Having a custom-fitted mouthguard can frequently prevent injuries each time one plays or practices or during any competition.

Types of Mouthguard

But not every mouthguard is the same, so the right one must be chosen. Based on the requirements, there are three primary types of mouthguards, ideal for particular circumstances.

Stock Mouthguards

The most accessible and cost-effective type of mouthguard is a stock mouthguard. Along with pharmacies, these are sold at supermarkets and sporting goods stores. They typically fit over the teeth and are available in small, medium, and big sizes. The majority of them just conceal the top teeth. Though cheap stock mouthguards are widely available, there are certain drawbacks, and they might not be the ideal remedy.

Since they aren’t custom-made, they typically don’t fit tightly. Also, stock mouthguards are uncomfortable to wear for long durations because they only come in a few sizes. Additionally, talking or breathing while wearing one may be challenging. Moreover, they don’t offer the same level of protection from sports-related injury or grinding of teeth as custom-made mouthguards do. They are also ineffective in the treatment of sleep apnea.

Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards

These are offered in most pharmacies, drug stores, or sports goods stores and are similar to stock mouthguards in terms of price. These are available in a single size that may be adjusted for fitting the teeth rather than a variety of sizes. The mouthguard must be boiled until it softens, then put over the front teeth while biting down so that it is shaped according to the wearer’s teeth and mouth.

Make sure to adhere to the included instructions for the best fit. The mouthguards for boil-and-bite come in one size that one can adjust to fit the teeth. If one has braces, consult the orthodontist before trying this sort of mouthguard because there is a possibility that during the shaping process, the mouthguard could become stuck in the braces.

Due to the fact that it doesn’t adapt to the individual’s bite and jaw architecture, it is less effective and may be more unpleasant. However, in an emergency, a self-fitted mouthguard is preferable rather than none at all.

Customized Mouthguards

Additionally, the dentist can create and fit a customized mouthguard for a person to exactly fit their dental structure. Safeguarding against bruxism and sports-related injuries with a custom mouthguard is highly beneficial. To take a mouthguard that perfectly fits the shape of the teeth and mouth, clinicians will take a molding of the teeth.

To achieve the best fit, the dentist creates a plaster model using an impression of the teeth if a patient needs a personalized mouthguard. For this phase, they will either utilize a dental putty or a computerized handheld wand. The impressions will be then forwarded to a dental facility where a specialist will create a mouthguard that precisely fits the shape of the teeth. This procedure could take as long as two weeks in certain cases.

This offers a much better fit and comfort than stock or boil-and-bite mouthguards will provide, making them more at ease and more difficult to unintentionally remove while sleeping. The best solution for teeth grinding, snoring, or sleep apnea is a custom-made mouthguard. The mouthguard must have a cushioning effect that protects against impact and it should be a minimum of 4mm thick.

Although they are more costly than mouthguards available on the market, many dental insurance policies will partially or completely cover the cost. They are wearable both with and without a CPAP machine. Speaking is still feasible because of how snugly it fits, which is crucial during a tense match. Since a child’s dental arch is smaller than an adult’s, they may require specially constructed mouthguards, which a pediatric dentist can provide.

Other types of mouthguards available are-

Orthodontic Mouthguard

During orthodontic treatment, there is a heightened risk of damage, the patients receiving this should not use dental mouthguards. Orthodontic braces may cause lacerations to sensitive tissues due to their metal or ceramic brackets.  Compared to a dental mouthguard, the orthodontic mouthguard fits more loosely. These mouthguards can be made by the orthodontist to prevent any unanticipated injuries.

Since Invisalign is a transparent aligner instead of sharp brackets or wires, it can significantly reduce the risk of these accidents. The specific instructions differ but generally, this works like a boil-and-bite mouthguard. It is vital to avoid using boiling water because it could lead to the melting of the mouthguard, so hot water is enough. Reheatable mouthguards are ideal for anyone receiving orthodontic treatment.

Compared to stock guards, these offer a more comfortable fit and feel, but it’s still doubtful that they will be a 100% perfect fit. Additionally, if one wears it every night, it will eventually weaken and require replacement. It will start to loosen up as the teeth continue to straighten during orthodontic treatment and it requires to be warmed up and reshaped according to the latest position of the teeth.

Children’s Dental Mouthguard

Pediatric dentists make this, especially for children. The kids can personalize their mouthguards by printing them in their preferred colours.

Uses of a Mouthguard

While all mouthguards seem similar, they serve diverse purposes. Therefore, before one buys any dental appliances for themselves or any family member, one should make a careful choice. Here are a few of the most popular reasons for wearing mouthguards-


Children and adults both struggle with teeth clenching and grinding, caused by a condition known as bruxism which is a movement disorder related to sleep. It results in a number of issues including tooth discomfort, teeth damage, jaw pain, sore gums, and headache. The top and bottom teeth are shielded from each other by a mouthguard while sleeping.

It aids in the relaxation of jaw muscles and guards against tooth and gum damage due to the pressure of clenching and grinding. One typically needs a specially fitted mouthguard for bruxism. Stock mouthguards are not comfortable and are challenging to maintain in position, making it troublesome to sleep. Boil and bite mouthguards provide a better fit, but with repeated usage, they turn fragile and weak.

Therefore one might first start with this type of mouthguard and later consult their doctor for a custom-fit mouthguard if it appears to be helpful. The expert will look for evidence of bruxism and advise wearing a bruxism mouthguard that is comfortable to use day or night.

But it is popularly used at night as the majority of individuals clench or grind their teeth when they sleep. They might also minimize the consequences of TMJ conditions. Therefore, although teeth grinding might appear like a minor issue, it can lead to broken or unequal teeth that need to be treated by a dentist to stop bacteria in the mouth from further deteriorating the damaged teeth.


According to sleep specialists, 24% of women and 40% of men snore often. While breathing, the soft tissues in the throat’s back vibrate (soft tissue vibrations in the upper airway), which causes snoring. Some mouthguards can help with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea by enhancing sleep and reducing snoring.

These mouthguards function in a similar manner to those of sleep apnea by forcing the lower jaw forward to keep the airways open. This can lessen or possibly eliminate the issue of snoring. There are a lot of over-the-counter snoring mouthguards available in shops and online that make this claim.

Nevertheless, it is unclear whether they are genuinely effective because there haven’t been several studies conducted on them. One should speak to their dentists about the options for a mouthguard if snoring is affecting their everyday life. In this case, an ideal solution is a personalized mouthguard.

Sleep Apnea

One may experience sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous ailment that stops breathing for a brief period of time during sleep. The following day, one will feel fatigued from the lack of oxygen in the brain, and with time, it will raise the danger of heart illness and stroke. Additionally, it can make one snore excessively and make them feel sleepy the following day.

A CPAP machine is typically needed by those suffering from extreme sleep apnea to keep their airways open while sleeping. A specific mouthguard can accomplish the same effect for those who have lesser sleep apnea. Rather than just keeping the mouthguard covered, the tongue and lower jaw are propelled forward by the mouthguard while sleeping, making sure that the breathing is uninterrupted through the night and the airway is kept open.

The lower jaw can be adjusted with some models using a strap that wraps around the head and chin. This sort of mouthguard is required to be obtained from a doctor because those available in stores won’t be helpful. Due to this reason, one can reject the boil and bite and stock mouthguards which do not affect the ability to breathe.

Finding the ideal mouthguard that fits comfortably is difficult while trying to treat sleep apnea problems. There are numerous varieties of mouthguards that prevent snoring. When it comes to treating sleep apnea, some of these treatment approaches are more effective than others, and some are completely inappropriate.


If one occasionally participates in team sports like soccer, basketball, cycling, skateboarding, or field hockey, stock or boil-and-bite mouthguards are an excellent idea. For sports involving close contact, such as boxing, wrestling, or martial arts, sports mouthguards are crucial.

One requires some sort of protection for the teeth if one participates in high-risk activities or games like boxing, in-line skating, ice hockey, field hockey, gymnastics, volleyball, softball, etc. A mouthguard will lessen the possibility of fall injury and damage to lips, teeth, jaws, and gums in the case of other facial trauma. A boil-and-bite mouthguard or a stock mouthguard is typically a suitable option for protecting the teeth while playing sports.

If one needs to wear a mouthguard just sometimes, stock mouthguards can be an excellent alternative because they are the least priced. Boil-and-bite ones provide a better fit and stay in the correct position while being a little more pricey. This may be a better choice for one if they play high-impact sports.

The American Dental Association advises using a mouthguard in sports like soccer, ice hockey, and basketball, where there is a chance of contact, impact, or rapid movement. One should consult with a dentist to know whether a customized mouthguard is a better choice if they play sports or are a professional athlete.


A mouthguard not only shields the teeth but also the braces from harm. The greatest mouthguards are those that are customized for a person. They are specially shaped for fitting braces or implants. One should talk to their dentist about wearing a personalized mouthguard for covering and shielding the braces and protecting the teeth, tongue, lips, and cheeks if they have braces in the mouth to straighten the teeth.

Protecting the face and mouth is crucial if one doesn’t want to harm the braces. For sports, there are numerous mouthguards designed specifically for braces that protect both the upper and lower teeth. The most crucial component is a proper fit, it must be pleasant for one to wear it.

However, for the best comfort and protection, the mouthguard must be constructed to fit precisely over the braces and brackets.  Therefore, even if one has a brace, they should wear a mouthguard if they clench or grind their teeth or play contact sports. When undergoing orthodontic treatment, conventional dental mouthguards are ineffective because they prevent teeth from moving as they begin to straighten.

The archwires of braces assist in supporting the teeth. In addition to reducing the force of a strike, mouthguards can prevent laceration of the soft tissues (such as lips and cheeks) by the braces. Before putting in a mouthguard, a patient who is wearing aligners must take them out. The teeth cannot be shielded from a hard collision by wearing aligners.

How to Care for a Mouthguard

Since mouthguards are kept for a long time inside the mouth they collect microorganisms, so it is crucial to keep it clean and safe from harm. Here are some cleaning instructions for the mouthguard which will make it last longer and provide better outcomes-

  • Before inserting a mouthguard, one should make sure to thoroughly brush and floss their teeth to make sure there is no food particle stuck in the teeth or gums.
  • Before and after using a mouthguard every time, wash it with cold water or mouthwash (for disinfection) to maintain it in perfect shape. Don't use hot water because it can deform its shape and distort it.
  • After every use, cleanse it with toothpaste and a toothbrush by treating it as an extension of the mouth.
  • Another option is, after using it every time, to clean the mouthguard with a brush and soap water and rinse it with cold water. Allow it to air dry.
  • Check it frequently for holes, cracks, or other damage indicators that signal it needs replacement.
  • While visiting the dentist, one should remember to bring their mouthguard. They can confirm that it still functions and fits properly and could clean it expertly.
  • Keep the mouthguard in a sturdy, ventilated plastic container to keep it safe, and let it dry up while not using it or while going to activities and sports.
  • Even if it's in a container, keep the mouthguard out of any pet’s or children’s reach.
  • Avoid exposing the mouthguard to sources of intense heat, such as hot water or the sun.
  • All mouthguards, nevertheless, would be accompanied by instructions, so one should read and abide by them. 

Shelf Life of a Mouthguard

Remember that mouthguards don’t stay indefinitely. One should change their mouthguard once they start to see any holes or wear, or after every 2 or 3 years. The frequency of replacement for stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards may increase. Hence, one should find out what kind of mouthguard will help them with their problems by speaking with the dentist.

Mouthguards can normally last for up to 2 years and the best method to ensure this is to keep them cleaned and properly maintained. A specially designed mouthguard could last many years with regular maintenance, based on the frequency of wearing the equipment. However, some individuals might discover that they require a mouthguard replacement more frequently.

The ones purchased from stores are less reliable and one might need to change them several times a year. The kid’s mouthguard must be changed every 12 to 18 months because of their growth as well as any new teeth that may affect the fit.


Hence, mouthguards are versatile devices that can address several issues. A mouthguard can provide protection and facilitate restful sleep. Anyone who plays contact sports or suffers from teeth grinding at night should wear them. They also aid in the treatment of sleep apnea, snoring, and its associated side effects, including conditions such as high blood pressure and daily tiredness.

Getting accustomed to a mouthguard may take some time. If one buys a mouthguard whose fitting is not right, the teeth, jaw, or gums may become sore. In general, custom-made mouthguards are more useful than the ones available at stores. Irrespective of the type of mouthguard one uses, their dentist can examine it and make any required modifications.

One should consult their dentist if they are still unsure of the kind of mouthguard they require. There are various mouthguard types to take into account, the ideal choice for a person depends on their needs for protection and their budget. One should never forget to visit their dentist for assistance if a mouthguard feels uncomfortable or doesn’t fit properly.

Thank you for reading!


  • ‘Types of Mouth Guards to Protect Your Teeth’ by Growing Smiles Dentistry. Growing Smiles. Available from: < >
  • ‘4 Reasons to Wear a Mouth Guard’ by Caroline Chirichella. Verywell Health, June 16, 2022. Available from: < >
  • ‘Mouth Guard’ by Cleveland Clinic medical professional. Cleveland Clinic, January 10, 2023. Available from: < >
  • ‘Dental Mouthguards’. Bupa Dental. Available from: < >
  • ‘Mouthguard: Types and How to Take Care of them?’. Oral-B, 2023. Available from: < >
  • ‘What mouthguards can you wear with braces?’. Toowong Orthodontics, 2020. Available from: <,laceration%20caused%20by%20the%20braces. >
  • ‘Mouthguard Usage for Grinding, Snoring, Apnea, Sports, & Braces’. Aurora Dental Studio, February 1, 2022. Available from: < >



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