Protecting your teeth is integral to keeping them healthy and less prone to breakage and cavities. One way to protect your teeth is by wearing a night guard, but do you have to wear one?

Night guards are not required to wear if you have no trouble with clenching your jaw or gritting your teeth while you’re sleeping. Night guards prevent clenching while you’re sleeping, protecting your teeth from possible breakage. If you struggle with this, you should wear a night guard. If not, then you shouldn’t.

The rest of this article will cover what a night guard does, how to tell if you need one, and how to wear one.

What A Night Guard Does

While sleeping, a night guard goes in your mouth to protect against possible damage you can cause to your teeth. This damage comes from you gritting your teeth or clenching your jaw. The night guard will prevent pain and headaches you may get in the morning from clenching.

Something to keep in mind is that there are both pros and cons to this device. As much as it will help your teeth, be wary of a night guard that doesn’t fit properly. It won’t work effectively if it doesn’t fit. Also, keep in mind that night guards aren’t meant for long-term use.

Night guards also help you sleep better. When you have a night guard in, preventing the clenching means you’re relaxing the muscles in your mouth. This relaxation leads to more comfort, and therefore it leads to better sleep.

How To Tell If You Need A Night Guard

Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw or teeth? This is a sign that you clench your jaw and or grit your teeth in your sleep. If you wake up with a sore jaw or teeth often, you should invest in a night guard and see if that eases the pain. The night guard will prevent damage to your teeth.

There’s more than one way to tell if you’ll need a night guard. Another way is this: headaches. If you’re getting headaches in the morning seemingly out of nowhere, a possible explanation is that you’re clenching your jaw too hard when you sleep. 

Clenching your jaw causes discomfort and headaches, so try a night guard out to see if the new device reduces the headaches. Without the force of the jaw irritating your head and teeth, you won’t have pain in the morning anymore. 

How To Wear A Night Guard

A common misconception about night guards is that you just stick it in and sleep. That’s not the correct way to do it. What you should do is allow your mouth time to adjust to the device. Since it’s thick and large, your mouth won’t adjust in a few seconds. It’ll need several minutes.

The best way to put a mouth guard on is to put it in your mouth 10 minutes before you go to bed. This way you’re giving your mouth plenty of extra time to adjust. When you feel like you’ve adjusted enough, then you can sleep comfortably knowing that moving won’t hurt your jaw.

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