Protect Your Teeth: Wear a Mouth Guard

HealthcareFebruary 24, 2015

If you're the parent of a young child who plays any kind of contact sport after school or on the weekends, you'll definitely want to make sure that you invest in a mouth guard to protect his or her smile! This simple tip applies to adults, as well. If you're a weekend warrior and love to run, bike, ski or climb, a sports guard is a fairly inexpensive investment that you can make to protect your teeth whenever they might be in jeopardy.

Finding the Perfect Fit

Dental assistants are often the first people you might see in a dental office who can suggest the type of athletic mouth guard you might need. This decision depends on the type of sport in which you or a member of your family participates. There are many kinds, but the most common ones are:
  • A ready-made, one-size-fits-all guard
  • A "boil-and-bite" guard
  • A custom-made guard prescribed by a dentist.
The "boil-and-bite" guards are frequently used in little league and pee-wee football leagues, particularly when younger children are playing these sports. Since many of these kids still have their baby teeth, it's an inexpensive way to form a mouth guard that properly fits them. (The boil and bite refers to a piece of plastic that is boiled in hot water, left to cool a bit and then the child bites into the plastic, holding it in place so that the guard molds properly around the child's teeth.) Since most dentists and dental assistants will advise you to wear a mouth guard when you are doing any kind of recreational activity both inside and outside, it's best to find a guard that is not only comfortable but fits properly, too.

Proper Use And Care

A guard that fits properly should not:
  • Restrict your breathing
  • Move around in your mouth
  • Be so uncomfortable that it prevents you from excelling in the sport in which you participate.
Taking proper care of a guard should include:
  • Always washing your hands before inserting or removing it
  • Once it is removed, rinsing in warm (not hot water) or even rinsing it off with some mouth wash
  • Storing the guard in a container so it retains its shape and lessens the chance of bacteria. (Hint: throwing it in a sports bag is not a good idea.)
Finally, if you wear a mouth guard regularly, have the dental technician or even a dental hygienist check your guard at your next regular checkup. He or she can make sure it fits properly so that if you do fall or if something impacts your mouth, your teeth and your smile will be intact! Click on the following links for more information about Fortis dental hygienist programs and dental assisting programs.

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