Guide to Store-Bought Mouth Guards

April is National Facial Protection month and a great opportunity to spread the word on mouth guard use.  You should be using a mouth guard ANYTIME you are playing sports or doing an activity where you could potentially get contacted in the face.  This is especially true if you have braces.  According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, it costs an estimate $500 million to repair and replace the 5 million teeth that are injured and knocked out every year.

Custom mouth guards from your dentist or orthodontist typically have the best fit but are also the most expensive.  If a custom-made guard is not an option, here is our guide to store-bought mouth guards (from basic stock guards to semi-custom “boil and bite”):

Stock Two-Piece


  • Pros: inexpensive, easy to get at a sporting goods store or from your dentist, easy to cut and modify if needed
  • Cons: can be uncomfortable or difficult to breath with, only stays in with your mouth closed, can wear out quickly

Stock One-Piece


  • Pros: inexpensive and generally easy to find at stores or from your dentist, easier to breath with than two-piece
  • Cons: can be difficult to keep in your mouth, not as easy to modify fit

Shock Doctor


  • Pros: cost-effective, easy to find in stores, stays in place better than stock mouth guards, comfortable, allows for tooth movement with braces
  • Cons: can be difficult to breath, not a custom-feel

Under Armour “Boil and Bite”


  • Pros: still affordable, available at many department stores, closest to a custom fit
  • Cons: the “boil and bite” adds a step, can be difficult to use with braces

Care of Mouthguards

  • Cleaning: scrub with toothbrush and toothpaste or wash with soap and cool water
  • Storage: protect it by keeping it in a case when not in use
  • Keep it intact: try not to chew on it and replace if it wears out or tears




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