What's in your mouthguard? One material, bisphenol A (BPA) has been under fire. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes BPA as a possible "reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant." After learning about the dangers of BPA, it’s reasonable to want to search for BPA free night guard options.
In this article, we'll explore why BPA in mouthguards (which treat issues like teeth grinding and jaw pain) makes people nervous. We'll also look at the availability of BPA free night guards, the materials routinely used in dental mouthguards, and how store-bought night guards compare to professional-grade products.
Mouthguards: A Simple Solution for Painful Problems
Mouthguards go by several names, including dental guards, night guards, and oral splints. They're often prescribed for patients who battle bruxism, a destructive condition that involves repetitive teeth grinding and jaw clenching. These unconscious behaviors generate intense pressure, causing tooth damage, mouth and jaw pain, and headaches. By physically preventing contact between the upper and lower teeth, night guards reduce wear and tear on the teeth.
Mouthguards can also relieve temporomandibular joint troubles. TMJ disorders, which revolve around the jaw's hinge joints, are linked to intense pain in the jaw, ear, neck, and head. Wearing a mouthguard may help the jaw muscles relax.
While a mouthguard often offers user-friendly and often affordable relief, recent headlines highlight the potential dangers of some chemicals in certain plastics manufacturing. This can cause mouthguard users to worry about what might lurk in their oral appliance.
Why BPA Causes Worry
Discovered in the 1890s, BPA is an industrial chemical that has been widely used since the 1960s to harden some polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. In turn, these materials are used to make everything from food packaging and medical devices to compact discs and impact-resistant safety equipment. Even the liners that coat the inside of water pipes can contain BPA.
The problem is that BPA can leach out of products and put people at risk for negative health effects. In fact, a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered detectable levels of BPA in 93% of people 6 years of age and older.
As WebMD reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration used to insist that BPA was safe. But in 2010, it shifted its stance. Now, the agency says animal studies are worrisome enough to trigger "some concern" about BPA's effects, especially in fetuses, infants, and children. BPA has been linked to a range of health concerns:
- Heart issues
- Fertility troubles
- Hormone disruption
- Brain and behavioral problems
Unfortunately, BPA isn't the only cause for concern when it comes to plastics. Other chemicals like phthalates and methyl methacrylate have also triggered health fears. Some users with certain allergies or sensitivities also worry about exposure to gluten or latex.
Concerns About BPA in Night Guards
With such serious health conditions being linked to BPA, it’s natural to worry about whether your mouthguard contains BPA. After all, a mouthguard is designed to be in direct, routine contact with the teeth and gums. The biting, clenching, and grinding teeth, which is common in mouthguard wearers, can disturb the appliance’s surface.
Fortunately, mouthguard users don’t need to worry. While you'll need to pay attention to where you source your oral appliance, high-quality mouthguards made from professional-grade dental materials do not contain BPA.
Finding BPA Free Night Guards
Dentists tend to recommend that patients battling teeth grinding use professionally made, custom dental night guards. These professional-grade products can be sourced directly through your dentist, who orders them from a professional dental lab. Alternatively, they can be ordered through a company like Pro Teeth Guard. That way, the mouthguard still comes from a professional dental lab but costs much less.
What sets professionally made custom dental night guards apart from other products on the market? These dental mouth guards are meticulously crafted by professionals using FDA-approved materials. The exact material in your mouthguard depends on its hardness. Different levels of bruxism severity and your comfort level determine the mouthguard hardness you need.
At Pro Teeth Guard, our mouthguards are free of BPA, latex, and gluten. They're made with these high-quality materials:
Intended for individuals with mild symptoms who tend to clench their teeth, soft night guards place a thin layer of flexible, rubbery vinyl between the teeth to provide a comfortable barrier.
Designed for heavy grinders, hard night guards are durable appliances made from an elasticized acrylic. These thermoplastic night guards soften slightly in warm water to provide a more comfortable fit. To deliver thermoplasticity, Pro Teeth Guard's hard night guard uses dialkyl, a safe phthalate.
Some acrylics also contain methyl methacrylate. The potential for exposure is very low since the material is cured, so it's generally considered safe.
This material is found in the hybrid night guard, which is for moderate or heavy grinding. Our dual laminate guards combine a hard outer layer with a cushiony inside for the ideal mix of strength and softness.
Store-Bought Versus Professional-Grade
While you don't have to go through a dentist to get a professional-grade mouthguard, not all mouthguards on the market qualify as professional-grade. Whether you're shopping at your local drug store or touring the virtual aisles of Amazon, you can find over-the-counter mouthguards from companies like DenTek and Dental Duty. Although these options are touted as BPA-free mouth guards they should not be confused with professional products.
Over-the-counter mouthguards are generally moldable night guards. These products are one-size-fits-all. To make it fit, you’ll need to boil a guard and bite into it while it's soft and pliable. However, the material tends to be thin, so you'll need to be careful not to bite through it. Also, many users report trouble with these guards slipping out while they sleep.
Professional-grade mouthguards offer better comfort, durability, and fit. These mouthguards are crafted by expert technicians in a dental lab from an impression of your teeth, so you’ll get a customizable fit that takes your bite and mouth size into account. Since they're made from high-quality, FDA-approved materials, they're more durable. Plus, the personalized fit makes it easier to keep the mouthguard in place while you're sleeping, which can make wearing it less frustrating and more rewarding.
Health-conscious consumers pay attention to the chemicals in the items they use, and mouthguards are no exception. For such consumers, it's easy to find mouthguards without BPA.
At Pro Teeth Guard, you can get a BPA-free, custom-fitted mouthguard at an affordable price. Our night guards are crafted in a professional dental lab from FDA-approved materials. We stand behind every mouthguard with our 110% money-back guarantee.