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When it comes to sports such as football or hockey, we expect that athletes will wear mouthguards. It’s almost a given since those sports involve the players colliding with one another, and hockey and football are considered high-impact sports. However, if you or your child play a sport in which there is a chance of a collision of any kind, you should consider a mouthguard.

Mouthguards are available in sporting-goods stores and in many retail stores. Store-bought mouthguards include “stock” mouthguards, which you slip over your teeth. There are also boil-and-bite mouthguards. These are placed into boiling water. When they have cooled for a few minutes, the user bites down on shaping the guard to fit their teeth. Your dentist can create a custom mouthguard that will be directly fitted to your bite and to fit you, specifically. But whatever kind you choose, you should make taking care of it a priority.

Your mouthguard is meant to protect your teeth. It can’t do that if it is in poor shape, To keep it in good shape, try not to chew on it. Not only will that wear the guard out faster, but chewing creates holes in which bacteria can breed. Be sure to replace it when it starts to show signs of wear.

Even if you faithfully brush and floss, your mouth is always full of bacteria. With that in mind, brush your teeth before using your mouthguard. This will keep the bacteria already present in your mouth from spreading to your mouthguard. When you are done with your game or workout, brush your teeth after you take out your guard, again to stop the spread of bacteria. Besides brushing your teeth, brush your mouthguard with toothpaste and cool water and rinse it after using it.

You need to make sure that when you are done using your mouthguard, store it in a clean, dry container that is vented. For the best results, you mouthguard should be stored at room temperature.

If you play sports you should talk with Dr. Richard Timm at All Family Dental about using a mouthguard. If you live in the Oakdale, Minnesota, area, contact our office at 651.222.9715 to make an appointment.