Can a Mouth Guard Attribute to Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a more severe stage of gum disease.  It has advanced beyond gingivitis, which is only located in the gums.  It has progressed beyond the gums, possibly having a significant effect on your teeth and even the jawbone.  Grinding your teeth, bruxism, can cause gum disease.

It can recede your gums, allowing bacteria to get in, and regular brushing and flossing cannot reach those areas.  A mouth guard, worn while sleeping, can help stop this potentially damaging, often unconscious, habit, but can the mouth guard itself actually attribute to periodontitis?

Why a Mouth Guard?

While bruxism doesn’t cause gum disease, it can lead to it.  When you continually grind your teeth, you wear down the protective layer of enamel.  Eventually, you can expose dentin, which can open up canals to the roots of your teeth, causing sensitivity.  You can crack or break your teeth.  You can recede your gums and loosen your teeth.  All of these open up areas for bacteria to enter, hide and thrive, leading to gum disease and other problems.

You may not be able to consciously stop grinding, especially at night.  A mouth guard provides a cushion between your teeth, preventing them from grating against each other, saving them from potential damage.

So, How Can a Mouth Guard Be Bad?

While a mouth guard can be helpful in stopping your teeth from suffering further damage from grinding, it can potentially help lead to gum disease.  Unless properly cared for, a mouth guard can be a breeding ground for bacteria.  If it is not cleaned regularly, bacteria can build up and then transfer from the guard to your mouth, finding its way into any deep, dark spaces.

To prevent bacterial buildup, rinse your mouth guard with mouthwash before and after each use.  Occasionally, give it a good wash with warm, soapy water.  This will allow you to prevent damage to your teeth and keep unwanted bacteria from invading your mouth, potentially leading to gum disease.

A mouth guard is an excellent tool to keep you from grinding your teeth and preventing further damage.  But it can actually create a problem unless properly cared for.  Make sure to keep your mouth guard clean and you can keep your teeth safe from both grinding damage as well as damage from periodontitis. Please contact us if you have any questions about mouth guards.