Lakeside Dental Dr. Russell L. Coad, D.D.S.
Keeping Your Teeth and Mouth Safe
Posted on June 7th, 2017

When you think about mouthguards, do not just think about football or hockey. A mouthguard can protect your teeth and mouth from injury in just about any sport or exercise, like gymnastics or skating.

Mouthguards, also called mouth protecrots, can help cushion a blow to the face, helping reduce the chance of broken teeth.

There are 3 types of mouthguards:
1. Stock: you can buy these preformed mouthguards at many sporting goods stores or drugstores. They are inexpensive and come ready to wear right out of the package. Unfortunately, because they are "one size fits all," they many be bulky and might make breathing and talking more difficult.
2. Boil-and-Bite: these mouthguards also can be bought at sporting goods stores and drugstores. You first put the mouthguard in hot water, and then bite down and allow it to form to the shape of your mouth.
3. Custom-Made: these mouthguards are made by your dentist just for you. Because they are individually made, with a personalized fit, they are likely the most comfortable option, though they are more expensive than the other types.

If you decided to buy a stock or boil-and-bite mouthguard, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance on the package. The Seal means scientific tests show that a product is safe when used as directed. These tests are reviewed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.

Replace your mouthguard immediately if it does not fit well, looks worn, has tears, or loses its shape. For the mouthguard to do its job, it has to fit well in your mouth. Because their mouths are still growing, teens and children likely need to replace their mouthguards every year, if not more often.

It is important to keep your mouthguard clean and dry between uses. Here are some tips for taking care of your mouthguard.
     *Rinse with cool water before and after each use. Brush with a toothbrush and cool water after rinsing.
     *Bring your mouthguard to your dental visits. Your dentist may want to check the fit or look for signs of wear.
     *Store and carry the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry, which will help keep bacteria from growing.
     *Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in the hot water.
     *Your mouthguard should fit snugly over your teeth. Replace it if looks worn, tears, or loses its shape.
     *Never wrap your mouthguard in a tissue or napkin (it could get thrown away). Store your mouthguard and its case somewhere safe, away from pets and small children.
     *Check the package label or insert to see if the manufacturer gives any special instructions for caring for your mouthguard.

When accidents do happen, though, there are a number of first aid steps you can take before going to the dentist.

Prepared by Anita M. Mark

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