The tongue crib, also known as a tongue guard, is placed over the tongue during the night to protect against grinding and clenching of the teeth. Tongue cribs are similar to mouth guards, but are made specifically to protect the teeth and prevent damage to the soft tissues of the mouth and face. If you grind your teeth at night or have any other oral health issues that require you to sleep with some kind of protection in your mouth, it’s important to know how to choose, fit, and maintain your tongue crib so you can get full use out of it.




Introducing the tongue crib

The tongue crib is a mouth guard intended to protect against common dental injuries sustained during athletic or recreational activities. Commonly referred to as a tongue guard, it is also sometimes called a mouth guard. The tongue crib can be worn for several different reasons, including protecting teeth from sports-related trauma (as seen in figure 1), helping reduce snoring when worn at night (as seen in figure 2), or preventing gum tissue damage during sleep apnea. This device works by protecting vulnerable areas of your mouth from injury. If you are new to having any type of device placed in your mouth during athletic activity, some preparation may be necessary before getting fitted for a tongue crib .


How does it help you breathe better?

Tongue cribs are most often used by people who snore. The device holds your tongue in place during sleep to prevent it from falling back into your throat and blocking your airway. When you have a blocked airway, you’re unable to get enough oxygen during sleep. Over time, untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to heart disease; high blood pressure; diabetes; frequent headaches or migraines; memory problems; morning fatigue and irritability (or excessive daytime sleepiness); fertility issues; anxiety or depression. Tongue cribs can also help users breathe better by keeping their tongues in check when they aren’t wearing a device that controls their breathing overnight.


When should you use one?

There are some instances where tongue cribs are a good idea. If you’re going to be participating in contact sports or if you have an injury that makes it difficult to eat (such as with a broken jaw), it may be beneficial to use one. Other than that, however, tongue cribs don’t really serve any purpose outside of oral surgery. So unless your dentist recommends them for a specific reason or you want one for cosmetic reasons (though we can’t imagine why anyone would want to wear one!), save your money. You can always invest in other pieces of mouth protection gear instead!


How to use it safely.

Tongue cribs are made to help people who snore or suffer from sleep apnea (and those who share a bed with them). Studies show that about 90 percent of snorers also have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where your throat muscles intermittently relax during sleep, causing you to stop breathing for periods of time (usually 10 seconds or longer). This can make it difficult to get restful sleep. Tongues cribs prevent your tongue from collapsing into your throat while you're sleeping. When your tongue falls back in your throat, it can block airways that carry oxygen to vital organs in our body. These airways are also known as air passages.


Does it hurt?

Although you may experience some initial soreness after your tongue crib is adjusted to your mouth, it’s really not supposed to hurt. The metal actually doesn’t touch any of your teeth at all; rather it fits under your tongue itself. And because tongues don’t have pain receptors (unlike say...freckles or a stubbed toe), it shouldn’t hurt at all. If you find that your tongue guard is causing serious pain then maybe you need a different model than what you currently have. In most cases, though, if there's some minor discomfort from getting used to it then give yourself about a week before deciding whether or not it's for you—it takes some people longer than others to adjust!


Pros and cons of tongue cribs.

A tongue crib is a removable plastic guard that fits on top of your teeth to help protect against tongue injuries. Tongue guards can be helpful in preventing damage from injuries to your tongue or mouth, especially if you participate in contact sports. However, there are some drawbacks. Tongues can heal quickly but you may experience difficulty talking and eating until they do. If your injury is severe, you might need stitches in addition to a tongue crib; however, it’s not uncommon for people with minor injuries to go without any treatment at all.


Frequently asked questions about tongue cribs.

Tongue cribs are not as common as they used to be but were very common in a more violent society. A tongue crib was a device that would hold a person’s tongue down so that they could not say or scream out anything. Tongue cribs were typically used on slaves and prisoners of war who did not want to cooperate or talk. Nowadays it is much more likely that these devices will be seen in medieval reenactments than in everyday life. In fact, many people don’t know what exactly a tongue crib is! For example, you may have seen pictures of the stocks from movies where people were tied up with their hands behind their back and their head locked into place with a metal device.

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