Mouthguards are commonly used by athletes to protect their teeth and mouth during sports activities. However, there is a concern that mouthguards may cause bleeding gums. In this article, we will explore this issue and provide a comprehensive analysis of the factors that may contribute to bleeding gums when using a mouthguard.
What is a Mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a protective device that is worn over the teeth and gums to absorb and distribute the impact of a blow to the face. It is commonly used in contact sports such as football, hockey, and boxing to prevent dental injuries. Mouthguards can be custom-made by a dentist or purchased over-the-counter.
How Mouthguards Work
Mouthguards work by absorbing and distributing the force of a blow to the face. When a blow is delivered to the face, the mouthguard compresses, which helps to reduce the force that is transmitted to the teeth and gums. This can prevent dental injuries such as broken teeth, knocked-out teeth, and lacerations to the lips and gums.
Can Mouthguards Cause Bleeding Gums?
Mouthguards are designed to protect the teeth and gums, but they may cause bleeding gums in some cases. There are several factors that may contribute to bleeding gums when using a mouthguard:
1. Poorly-fitting Mouthguards
If a mouthguard does not fit properly, it may rub against the gums and cause irritation. This can lead to bleeding gums and other oral health problems. Custom-made mouthguards are designed to fit the individual’s teeth and gums, which can help to prevent this problem.
2. Gum Disease
Gum disease is a common oral health problem that can cause bleeding gums. If a person has gum disease and wears a mouthguard, the pressure from the mouthguard may exacerbate the problem and cause bleeding gums. It is important to treat gum disease before using a mouthguard.
3. Braces or Dental Appliances
If a person wears braces or other dental appliances, a mouthguard may cause irritation and bleeding gums. This is because the mouthguard may rub against the brackets or wires of the braces, causing friction and irritation.
4. Allergic Reactions
In rare cases, a person may have an allergic reaction to the material used to make the mouthguard. This can cause irritation, swelling, and bleeding gums. If a person experiences these symptoms, they should stop using the mouthguard and consult a dentist.
5. Improper Use
If a person uses a mouthguard improperly, it may cause bleeding gums. For example, if a person bites down too hard on the mouthguard, it may cause irritation and bleeding gums. It is important to follow the instructions for use provided with the mouthguard.
Preventing Bleeding Gums When Using a Mouthguard
There are several steps that can be taken to prevent bleeding gums when using a mouthguard:
1. Choose a Properly-fitting Mouthguard
A properly-fitting mouthguard is essential for preventing bleeding gums. Custom-made mouthguards are designed to fit the individual’s teeth and gums, which can help to prevent irritation and bleeding gums.
2. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is important for preventing bleeding gums. Brushing and flossing regularly can help to prevent gum disease, which can exacerbate the problem of bleeding gums when using a mouthguard.
3. Treat Gum Disease
If a person has gum disease, it is important to treat it before using a mouthguard. This can help to prevent bleeding gums and other oral health problems.
4. Follow the Instructions for Use
It is important to follow the instructions for use provided with the mouthguard. Improper use can cause irritation and bleeding gums.
Mouthguards are an important tool for preventing dental injuries during sports activities. While they may cause bleeding gums in some cases, this can be prevented by choosing a properly-fitting mouthguard, maintaining good oral hygiene, treating gum disease, and following the instructions for use.