A mouthguard is an important piece of equipment for football and any other contact sport. Properly fitting the guard against your teeth makes wearing one much safer , more comfortable and improves performance.
Why a Proper Fitting Mouthguard is Important
When it comes to protecting an athlete’s teeth, lips and gums., a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends that a mouthguard should be a standard part of an athlete’s equipment from an early age. Mouthguards help buffer impact that might otherwise cause jaw injuries, broken teeth, and cuts to the face, tongue or lip.
Step-by-Step Guide to Molding Your Mouthguard
A properly fitted mouthguard is essential for protection, not only because it provides better protection but also because an ill-fitting, uncomfortable guard is less likely to be worn, and diminishes “on-field” performance. The most commonly used type of mouthguard is the boil-and-bite (mouth-formed) mouthguard. The mouthguard is heated and then molded to fit your mouth.
Follow the easy instructions below on how to mold a mouthguard. Please use caution, and if you are under 18 years of age, please have adult supervision.
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Items for Molding a Mouthguard
Before you begin, make sure you have everything you need for molding a mouthguard. You’ll need:
- Boiling water
- Ice water (if needed, check mouthguard instructions)
Step 2: Boil the Mouthguard
Boil water in a small pot – just enough to submerge the mouthguard. Check the instructions that came with the guard for the correct amount of time required. Generally, the mouthguard needs to be heated until you can mold the mouthguard, but not to the point where it is too pliable or melted. Tip: the water will boil faster if you keep a lid on the pot.
Step 3: Remove the Mouthguard from the Boiling Water
Carefully remove the guard from the boiling water with its fitting handle, tongs, or a spoon to protect both your hands and the mouthguard. If using tongs, be careful not to squeeze the mouthguard too tightly, as this could deform it. Quickly place the mouthguard on the towel to blot off excess water, let it cool just long enough not to burn your mouth, and quickly get it into your mouth.
Adjust the guard against your upper front teeth, then push it up and back against your molars with your thumbs. Firmly bite down against your bottom teeth and suck the guard against your top teeth. Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, creating a tight fit and molding the mouthguard to your teeth. This should take about 15 or 20 seconds. Do not move the mouthguard in your mouth.
Step 4: Cool the Mouthguard
Cool your mouthguard by immersing it in cold water or letting it air dry. Check the instructions that came with your mouthguard to make sure cooling in cold water is recommended. Be careful not to let the edges curl over. Let it cool for a few minutes and test the fit. You should be able to keep the guard tight against your top teeth without having to hold it there with your tongue. If it doesn’t fit, you can remold it by starting the process over.
Following these steps on how to mold a mouthguard should give you a near-custom fit that lasts. Check your mouthguard frequently and replace it if you notice that the edges are jagged or if it is deformed.