Both of these words sound similar and you might be wondering what the difference is when it comes to oral health. Here are the basics:
Mouth guards are worn over the teeth during the day, typically for when the user is participating in sports or other activities where protection from being hit in the mouth is important. Mouth guards help protect teeth should such a collision occur, whether it’s an elbow, a ball, etc.
We certainly encourage kids and teens playing sports to use mouth guards since this is one of the leading causes of chipped and damaged teeth, as well as teeth being knocked out.
Nite guards on the other hand are worn at night to prevent grinding the teeth during sleep and also to help align the teeth. Nite guards tend to be thinner material than mouth guards for sports, and are often clear.
We don’t generally recommend using a nite guard early in a child’s life because it can negatively affect how new teeth grow in and align with other teeth. Once all the adult teeth are in place, using one becomes less of an issue. Generally, though, we refer out for cases where a patient might need or want a nite guard.