why athletic mouthguards don’t work for teeth grinding

why athletic mouthguards don’t work for teeth grinding

Why Athletic Mouthguards Don’t Work for Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It can lead to a range of dental issues, such as tooth wear, cracked teeth, and jaw pain. One common solution that many people turn to is athletic mouthguards, which are designed to protect teeth during sports activities. However, despite their popularity, athletic mouthguards are not an effective solution for teeth grinding. Here’s why:

1. Athletic Mouthguards are Not Designed for Bruxism

Athletic mouthguards are designed to protect teeth from impact during sports activities. They are made of a hard, durable material that can withstand heavy blows. However, they are not designed to protect teeth from the constant grinding and clenching that occurs with bruxism. Bruxism is a repetitive, sustained force that can cause significant damage to teeth over time. Athletic mouthguards are simply not designed to handle this type of force.

Furthermore, athletic mouthguards are typically worn only during sports activities, whereas bruxism can occur at any time, including during sleep. This means that even if an athletic mouthguard were effective at protecting teeth during sports activities, it would not be effective at preventing damage caused by bruxism during sleep.

2. Athletic Mouthguards Can Actually Make Bruxism Worse

Some people who suffer from bruxism may turn to athletic mouthguards as a solution. However, wearing an athletic mouthguard can actually make bruxism worse. This is because athletic mouthguards can cause the jaw muscles to work harder, which can lead to increased clenching and grinding. This can exacerbate the problem and cause even more damage to teeth over time.

3. Athletic Mouthguards Can Be Uncomfortable to Wear

Athletic mouthguards are not designed to be worn for extended periods of time. They can be uncomfortable to wear and can cause irritation to the gums and other soft tissues in the mouth. This can make it difficult to wear an athletic mouthguard for the recommended length of time, which is typically several hours per day or night.

4. Custom-Fitted Mouthguards are a Better Solution

why athletic mouthguards don't work for teeth grinding

If you suffer from bruxism, a custom-fitted mouthguard is a much better solution than an athletic mouthguard. Custom-fitted mouthguards are designed specifically for bruxism and are made of a softer, more flexible material that can absorb the force of clenching and grinding. They are also designed to be worn during sleep, when bruxism is most likely to occur.

Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by a dentist or dental laboratory and are molded to fit the unique shape of your teeth and mouth. This ensures a comfortable, secure fit that will not cause irritation or discomfort.

5. Other Solutions for Bruxism

While custom-fitted mouthguards are an effective solution for bruxism, there are other treatments available as well. These include:

  • Stress management techniques
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Medications
  • Botox injections
  • Dental treatments, such as orthodontics or restorative dentistry

If you suffer from bruxism, it’s important to talk to your dentist about the best treatment options for your specific needs. With the right treatment, you can prevent further damage to your teeth and improve your overall oral health.


Athletic mouthguards are not an effective solution for teeth grinding. They are not designed to handle the sustained force of clenching and grinding that occurs with bruxism, and can actually make the problem worse. Custom-fitted mouthguards, along with other treatments, are a much better solution for preventing damage to teeth and improving overall oral health.

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