How to Boil a Mouthguard

A mouthguard is widely used in high-impact sports such as professional boxing, basketball, American football, or lacrosse. This piece of gear is vital because it protects the user from injuries around the mouth area, by providing a layer of protection on the inside of your lips and on both side of your teeth as well as your tongue and even your jaw.

Why Should You Boil Your Mouthguard?

According to the American Dental Association, it is estimated that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year. As such, it is important that this is custom-fitted so to get the maximum durability and protection out of it, not to mention that you can save more money by investing in a mouthguard than paying for treatment of dental injuries caused by high-impact sports.

There are 3 types of mouthguards: custom, stock, and boil and bite. Among the three, boil and bite mouthguards are the most widely used. The custom mouthguard provides the best protection while being the most comfortable to wear, but it does not come cheap and it can take up to a week to have it ready. The stock mouthguard is very cheap and can be worn immediately but it is not custom-fitted to your mouth size and shape so the protection it provides is questionable, not to mention that it is uncomfortable. The boil and bite mouthguard sits right in between the two, ensuring protection with custom-fit capabilities with low cost and short preparation time. A mouthguard should protect your mouth from injuries caused by impacts. As such, it is very important to get a comfortable fit for your mouthguard to ensure maximum protection.

How to Boil a Mouthguard

Before we start, you need to acquire a boil and bite mouthguard. You can find it for sale at online retailers or at your local sporting goods store and pharmacies. The price for a bite and boil mouthguard is quite cheap when you take into consideration how well it protects your mouth. In addition to a boil and bite, here are some more things you need to prepare:

  • A pot or saucepan to store the water for boiling
  •  A stove to boil the water
  • A small container of cool water
  •  A slotted spoon, or tongs
  • A mirror

Next, we can proceed to the boiling and fitting process:

  • Fill the pot or saucepan with water, around half full is adequate, and then boil the water.
  • Prepare a bowl of cool water while you are waiting for the water to boil.
  • When the water is boiling, remove the pot or saucepan from the stove. Let the water stand for about 30 seconds.
  • Then, place the blank boil and bite mouthguard into the water. Let it sit there from 60 to 90 seconds.
  • Take the mouthguard out of the hot water with a slotted spoon, tongs or any tools you can use to safely retrieve it.
  • Place the hot mouthguard in cool water for one or two seconds to cool it down a bit.
  • Moisten your lips using lip balm or saliva to reduce friction when you insert the mouth guard. Carefully put the mouthguard in your mouth and around the upper teeth. Take care to ensure that you aligned the guard properly. Your front teeth should align with the front center of the mouthguard. You can use the mirror to help you see if your teeth align with the mouthguard properly. When you fit it into your upper teeth, start by biting gently with your molars, then with your front teeth.
  • Align your bottom teeth with the top teeth so they align in a natural position before you bite into the mouthguard with your bottom teeth. Suck in and press the mouthguard with your fingers through your lips and cheeks to allow the mold to form the teeth and gum lines accurately. Hold it there for about 20 seconds.
  •  Once done, remove the mouth guard and set it in the cool water again for about 20-30 seconds to allow the mold to harden.
  • Try the new mouthguard and see if it fits comfortably and accurately. If not, rinse and repeat the previous steps until you get an accurate fit.

It is also worth noting that you can re-boil the mouthguard again since the mold can be softened in high heat. Although some people suggest that getting a new mouthguard is better if there is a drastic change in your teeth formation since it can be hard to get an accurate shape once the mouthguard is used once. Re-boiling a mouthguard is possible if you need to make a slight adjustment.

How Do I Know if I Boiled my Mouthguard Properly?

Many inexperienced users do not really know if their mouthguard fits and protects as it should. Here are a few tips to tell if you need to boil it again:

  • If your mouthguard makes you gag, then you probably need to do it again. A mouthguard doesn’t need to cover all the teeth to provide adequate protection. It just needs to end between the end of the first molar and halfway through the second molar. If your mouthguard covers all the teeth, then it will feel uncomfortable without actually providing you additional effective protection. The mouthguard should fit well, so it can provide enough protection. Covering all the teeth does not always mean better protection.
  • Your mouthguard should fit snug and you should not need to bite or clench your teeth to keep it in place. If you need to bite to hold it there, then it is too loose and you need to redo the boiling process again.
  •  A mouthguard should also cover your gum, but not the entire jaw. If it does not cover your gum, then your teeth can still be dislodged if you come into contact with a strong enough force. A mouthguard that covers the gum provides a good protection.
  • You should be able to speak, drink and breathe properly even with the mouthguard on. The mouthguard should not obstruct the space in your mouth too much.
  • The golden rule is: if it is uncomfortable, then you need to boil it again.

How Long to Boil a Mouthguard?

The entire boiling process takes less than 5 minutes. The time mentioned earlier should be followed. Here is why:

  • During the boiling process, it is important not to go above 90 seconds, because it can damage the integrity, shape, and structure of the mouthguard can be ruined.
  • If you don’t let it boil for long enough, the mold may be too thick and tough for you to bite into.
  • After you have boiled the mouthguard, you need only to cool it down briefly. If the guard is left in cool water for too long, then the mold will become too tough again.
  • When you have the guard in your mouth, 20 seconds is the average time to allow the mold to get the accurate shape of your teeth and gum lines. If you don’t let it sit there for 20 seconds, then the measurement may be inaccurate. Of course, you don’t need more than 20 seconds to get it.
  • In the final cooling phase, the guard should be completely cool so you can try out the new mouthguard without ruining its shape.

How to Boil a Mouthguard for Football and other Sports

You will need a mouthguard if you are playing football, karate or boxing, or any sports that have a risk of causing injuries to your mouth. The mouthguard is designed to protect you from oral injuries caused by those sports. Therefore, your mouthguard is applicable in any sports. There is no difference between how to boil a mouthguard for football and how to boil a mouthguard for boxing. The process is all the same and you can use your mouthguard in many kinds of sports once it is ready.

Conclusion

The boil and bite mouthguard is the most popular mouthguard among athletes, even the professional ones. This is because of its affordable price, ease of use, and protection. Users can boil this mouthguard right at home and use it in many kinds of sports. The entire process takes less than five minutes and you can achieve adequate protection with a custom fit.