How to Boil a Mouthguard: Step by Step Guide
A mouthguard is widely used in high-impact sports such as professional boxing, or American football, however, the use of a mouthguard doesn't have to be restricted to just athletes.
Vitally, a mouthguard protects the wearer from injuries around the mouth area.
It does this by providing a layer of protection on the inside of your lips as well as your upper and lower sets of teeth, protecting your tongue and jaw in the process.
Why should you boil your mouthguard?
According to the American Dental Association, it is estimated that mouthguards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year.
As such, it is important that your mouthguard is custom-fitted to your teeth and gums in order to offer maximum durability and protection.
We should also mention that you can save more money by investing in a mouthguard than paying for treatment of dental injuries caused by high-impact sports, but that probably goes without saying.
There are three types of popular mouthguards: custom, stock, and boil and bite.
Among the three, boil and bite mouthguards are the most widely used and as the name suggests, are what this guide will focus on.
To summarize, the different types of mouthguards available, custom mouthguards provide the best protection while being the most comfortable to wear, but they don't always come cheap.
Stock mouthguards are a cheaper alternative and can be worn immediately but as they are not custom-fitted to your mouth the protection they provide is questionable, it's also worth mentioning these mouthpieces are often far from comfortable.
Boil and bite mouthguards sit right in between the two, ensuring protection and custom-fit functionality 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 choose a comfortable fit for your mouthguard to ensure maximum protection.
How to boil a mouthguard
If you've reached this point we're going to assume you've already purchased your boil and bite mouthguard and are ready to continue.
Before boiling your new guard you will need the following:
- A pot or saucepan to store the water for boiling
- Stove to boil the water
- Small container of cool water
- Slotted spoon, or tongs
- A mirror
Next, we proceed to the boiling and fitting process:
Fill the pot or saucepan with water, around half full is adequate, and then proceed to boil the water.
Tip: 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.
Place the blank boil and bite mouthguard into the water. Let it sit there from 60 to 90 seconds.
Remove the mouthguard out of the hot water with a slotted spoon, tongs or any tools you can use to safely retrieve it.
Tip: Place the hot mouthguard in cool water for one or two seconds to allow it to cool down.
Moisten your lips using lip balm or saliva to reduce friction when you insert the mouth guard.
Carefully place the mouthguard in your mouth and press against your upper teeth. Take care to ensure that you have 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 here for about 20 seconds.
Remove the mouth guard and set it in the cool water again for about 20-30 seconds to allow the mold to harden.
Finishing Tip: 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 and comfortable fit.
It is also worth noting that you can re-boil the mouthguard again since the mold can be softened in high heat.
How do I know if I boiled my mouthguard correctly?
Many people can worry that they won't know if their mouthguard is set correctly, here are a few tips to tell if you need to boil your mouth guard 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, providing enough protection but also remaining comfortable.
- Your mouthguard should fit snug and you should not feel the 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 good protection.
- You should be able to speak, drink and breathe properly even with the mouthguard in.
The golden rule is: if it is uncomfortable even after using several uses, then we recommend boiling your mouthguard again.
How long to boil a mouthguard for?
The entire boiling process takes less than 5 minutes. Here's 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
The boil and bite mouthguard is the most popular mouthguard among athletes, young and old.
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.