Because accidents can happen during any physical activity, the advantage of using a mouth guard is that it can help limit the risk of mouth-related injuries to your lips, tongue, and soft tissues of your mouth. Mouth guards also help you avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth or even tooth loss.
Mouth guards should be used by anyone — both children and adults — who play contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey. However, even those participating in noncontact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (for example, skateboarding, mountain biking) that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.
Adults and children who grind their teeth at night should have a nocturnal bite plate or bite splint made to prevent tooth damage.
Mouth guards are coverings worn over teeth, and often used to protect teeth from injury from teeth grinding and during sports.
There are three types of mouth guards:
- Stock mouth protectors are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting good stores and department stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky and make breathing and talking difficult and they provide little or no protection. Dentists do not recommend their use.
- Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The “boil and bite” mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.
- Custom-fitted mouth protectors are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions. First, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and best fit and protection.
Generally, mouth guards cover your upper teeth only, but in some instances (such as if you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw), your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well. Your dentist can suggest the best mouth guard for you. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech.
If you grind your teeth at night, a special mouth guard-type of dentalappliance — calleda nocturnal bite plate or bitesplint — maybe created to prevent tooth damage.
Teeth grinding and clenching can occur in both adults and children. Teeth grinding could interrupt a quiet night of sleep.
A night guard is a bite pad that is supposed to be worn at night when you sleep. This guards is usually made of high-grade plastic and should fit the teeth or mouth perfectly. This device keeps the upper teeth from grinding with the lower teeth, offering an instant solution to teeth clenching problems.
Grinding and clenching can cause headaches, flattening of your teeth and TMJ problems.
CHICAGO—April 18, 2012—The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) supports the American Heart Association’s (AHA) scientific statement “Periodontal Disease and Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease: Does the Evidence Support an Independent Association?” recently published in Circulation. The statement concludes that observational studies to date support an association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, independent of shared risk factors. The AHA’s statement confirms the conclusions of the statements published by the AAP and the American Journal of Cardiology in 2009 and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in 2008.
While current research does not yet provide evidence of a causal relationship between the two diseases, scientists have identified biologic factors, such as chronic inflammation, that independently link periodontal disease to the development or progression of cardiovascular disease in some patients.
The lack of causal evidence should not diminish concern about the impact of periodontal status on cardiovascular health. According to Pamela McClain, DDS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colorado, “Periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are both complex, multi-factorial diseases that develop over time. It may be overly simplistic to expect a direct causal link. The relationship between the diseases is more likely to be mediated by numerous other factors, mechanisms, and circumstances that we have yet to uncover. However, as the AHA statement points out, the association is real and independent of shared risk factors. Patients and healthcare providers should not ignore the increased risk of heart disease associated with gum disease just because we do not have all the answers yet.”
The AAP believes additional long-term interventional studies are needed to better understand the specific nature of the relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Patients’ periodontal status should also be added to future longitudinal studies of cardiovascular disease. The AAP hopes that the American Heart Association’s statement brings attention to the association between the two diseases and the need for additional research in this area.
Dr. McClain encourages physicians and dentists to communicate the association between cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease to patients. “It is not as simple as telling a patient that brushing and flossing will ward off a heart attack,” says Dr. McClain. “Patients should be aware that by maintaining periodontal health, they are helping to reduce harmful inflammation in the body, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Patients should expect to receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation from their dental professional at least once a year, adds Dr. McClain. This includes a detailed examination of the teeth and gums, and an assessment of risk factors such as smoking, age, and overall health status. In addition, patients diagnosed with periodontal disease should be sure to inform their general health care provider and/or cardiologist to encourage better integration of their care.
“There is no compelling evidence to support that treating periodontal disease will reduce cardiovascular disease at this time,” says Dr. McClain, “but we do know that periodontal care will improve your oral health status, reduce systemic inflammation, and might be good for your heart as well.”
When bacteria that grows on teeth and gums is mixed with sugar that is left in our mouths from the food we eat, acid is produced that destroys teeth and gums. The combination of bacteria and acid eats away at your teeth, producing teeth cavities. Leaving bacteria in your mouth can also result in gum disease such as gingivitis, which is inflammation of your gums.
If gingivitis and teeth cavities are left untreated, your gums and teeth erode, forming spaces in your mouth that bacteria can fill, further eroding important tissues that are needed to support your teeth, which can result in tooth loss.
Twin study published in the Journal of Periodontology demonstrates that flossing can decrease the occurrence of gum disease-causing bacteria.
CHICAGO—August 5, 2008—In dental offices all over the world, patients are often told they are not flossing enough or instructed to floss more. As the old saying goes, you only need to floss the teeth you want to keep. After all, not flossing regularly can lead to tooth decay and to periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP), the official publication of theAmericanAcademy of Periodontology (AAP) demonstrates that including flossing as part of one’s routine oral care can actually help reduce the amount of gum disease-causing bacteria found in the mouth, therefore contributing to healthy teeth and gums.
The study, conducted atNew YorkUniversity, examined 51 sets of twins between the ages of 12 and 21. Each set was randomly assigned a two-week treatment regimen with one twin brushing with a manual toothbrush and toothpaste and the other twin brushing with a manual toothbrush and toothpaste and flossing. At the end of the two-week trial, samples were taken from both pairs of twins and compared for levels of bacteria commonly associated with periodontal disease.
The study findings indicated that those twins who did not floss had significantly more of the bacteria associated with periodontal disease when compared to the matching twin who flossed in addition to tooth-brushing with toothpaste.
“This study illustrates the impact flossing can have on oral health. The twins experimental model is a powerful tool to help sort out genetic and environmental factors that often confound the interpretation of treatment studies. This study demonstrates that flossing can have an important and favorable impact on an individual, as compared to that of a non-flossing individual with similar genetics and possibly similar habits,” explains Dr. Kenneth Kornman, editor or the Journal of Periodontology. “Twins tend to share the same or similar environmental factors such as dietary habits, health and life practices, as well as genetics. In this case, the only difference was flossing, and the outcome was significant. Flossing may significantly reduce the amount of bad bacteria in the mouth.”
The study results support that old saying, and show that including flossing as an integral part of your regular oral care can help reduce the amount of periodontal disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, thereby helping you keep your teeth. Periodontal disease is an infection caused by a build-up of bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. Flossing, or using interdental cleaners, helps clean the bacterial plaque from between your teeth that regular brushing can’t reach.
“As a practicing periodontist, I am constantly telling my patients to clean between their teeth more using dental floss or interdental cleaners,” says Dr. Susan Karabin, President of the AAP. “Patients tend to think that flossing can’t possibly make that much of a difference. But this study demonstrates that the addition of flossing to your dental hygiene routine can significantly reduce the amount of periodontal disease causing bacteria. Even after just two weeks!”
Chronic gingivitis is common in children. It usually causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Gingivitis is both preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and professional dental care. However, left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.
Aggressive periodontitis can affect young people who are otherwise healthy. Localized aggressive periodontitis is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. It is characterized by the severe loss of alveolar bone, and ironically, patients generally form very little dental plaque or calculus.
Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and involve the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. Eventually it can cause the teeth to become loose.
Periodontitis associated with systemic disease occurs in children and adolescents as it does in adults. Conditions that make children more susceptible to periodontal disease include:
- Type I diabetes
- Down syndrome
- Kindler syndrome
- Papillon-Lefevre syndrome
For example, in a survey of 263 Type I diabetics, 11 to 18 years of age, 10 percent had overt periodontitis.
Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birthweight babies. In fact, pregnant women with periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that’s born too early and too small. The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin. Very high levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease.
Tooth loss can cause an indentation in the gums and jawbone where the tooth used to be. This happens because the jawbone recedes when it no longer is holding a tooth in place. Not only is this indention unnatural looking, it also causes the replacement tooth to look too long compared to the adjacent teeth.
Ridge augmentation can fill in this defect recapturing the natural contour of the gums and jaw. A new tooth can then be created that is natural looking, easy to clean and beautiful.