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Should You Choose a Mouthguard That Includes a Lip Guard?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Do you or your children play in a type of sport that requires a mouthguard? If so, you may be wondering if you need a mouthguard that includes a lip guard as well. Here, we’ll discuss the different types of mouthguards with and without lip guards and give you an idea of what’s available for you and your athletes.

Sports-Related Dental Injuriess

Who hasn’t seen a photo of a hockey player missing front teeth? You may be surprised to know that, according to this article in Sports Health, injuries to the soft tissue are the most common. In fact, about 90 percent of sports-related mouth injuries were to the lips, maxillary (upper) jaw, and maxillary central incisors. They also noted that wearing a mouthguard reduces your risk of injury. That's good news! On the flip side, a study showed athletes not wearing a mouthguard were 1.6 to 1.9 more likely to get injured.

All About Mouthguards and Lip Guards

Here’s how mouthguards protect your teeth, lips, and other parts of your mouth:

  • The shock-absorbing mouthguard material softens blows to the face
  • It creates a barrier between the teeth, lips, and other soft tissue reducing the chance of cuts inside your mouth
  • For brace-wearers, the mouthguard protects your mouth from oral cuts from the braces and protects braces from damage

There are three different types of mouthguards:

Stock mouthguard. It features a lip guard in the front. This mouthguard is the least expensive option. You can buy it right off the shelf. Most people find it uncomfortable and inconvenient because you have to keep your mouth closed for it to work. It does have a lip guard on the front, which covers the upper and lower lips when you bite down. Because of the way this is worn, it is hard to talk while wearing it. This type of mouthguard is sometimes referred to as a pacifier mouthpiece because of the way it goes into your mouth. Football players often wear this style of mouthguard.

Boil and bite mouth guards. These are a little more expensive than stock mouthguards. You can customize it to fit your bite by soaking it in hot water, but the fit will not be perfect.

Custom-fit mouth guards. These are the most expensive, but they provide the best fit. They're created in your dental professional’s office. Custom-fit mouth guards typically do not have an additional lip guard. They are designed to fit securely over the teeth, providing the most significant cushioning and protection.

Taking Care of Your Mouthguard

Brush your teeth before you wear your mouthguard. After each wear, brush your mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Make sure to dry it before putting it away. These things will help your mouthguard last longer.

If you or your child is in a sport where there's a risk of taking a blow to the face, wearing a mouthguard is a good idea. A mouthguard with a lip guard is often worn by athletes in high physical contact sports like football. If you’re unsure of what type of mouthguard is right for you or your athlete, talk with your dental professional.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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