A mouth guard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, jaws, lips and gums. A mouthguard is most often used to prevent injury in contact sports, (such as football, hockey, boxing etc) as a treatment for bruxism or TMD, or as part of certain dental procedures, such as tooth bleaching. Depending on application, it may also be called a mouth protector, mouth piece, gumshield, gumguard, nightguard, occlusal splint, bite splint, or bite plane.
Bruxism is the medical term for grinding, gnashing or clenching the teeth. This condition affects both children and adults and the teeth grinding or clenching, may be loud enough to wake the sleep partner. The teeth are worn down, flattened or chipped, worn tooth enamel, exposing the inside of the tooth resulting in tooth sensitivity, earache and jaw pain or tightness in the jaw muscles.
- In some adults, abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth (malocclusion) may contribute to the problem.
- In children, bruxism may be related to growth and development while some children grind their teeth because of tension, anger, allergy problems, or as a response to pain from an earache or teething.
- It's particularly common in children with cerebral palsy (or severe mental retardation). But most children outgrow bruxism before they get their adult teeth.
- It can be a complication of another disorder, such as Huntington's disease or Parkinson's disease.
- It can also be an uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications including antidepressants.
- • Use of mouth guards at night
- • Avoid alcohol
- • Cut back on caffeine
- • Avoid chewing gum
- • Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth at night against your cheeks in front of your earlobes.