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Most people recognize that athletes who play football, hockey or soccer need to wear a mouthguard. In fact, many schools require students to wear a mouthguard if they participate in some sports. In reality, wearing a mouthguard is a good idea if you play any sport or enjoy an recreational activity that could result in an impact to your mouth. If you wear braces, you will want to make sure that they are protected with a mouthguard.

You can purchase mouthguards over the counter at sporting goods and retail stores. A stock mouthguard is ready to wear, but does not provide the best possible protection for your mouth and teeth. A boil-and-bite mouthguard is placed in boiling water, and when it has sufficiently cooled, you bite down on it to help it conform to the shape of your teeth. These types of mouthguards offer better protection than stock mouthguards. For the best possible protection, talk with your dentist about having a custom mouthguard made specifically to fit your bite.

Once you have your mouthguard, it is important that you properly maintain it. Your mouthguard can keep your teeth safe from injury, but it can also offer bacteria a safe place to collect and breed. To that end, you should brush your teeth before and after using your mouthguard. Doing so will help keep any bacteria on your teeth from being transferred to your mouthguard, and vice-versa. Additionally, you should brush your mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste and rinse it well after using it. When you aren’t wearing your mouthguard, keep it in a protective case that clean and well ventilated so that the air can reach it.

As you use your mouthguard, it will become cracked and pitted over time; resist the temptation to chew on your mouthguard. Bacteria can use the cracks and holes in your mouthguard as breeding grounds. Remember that even with the best care,a mouthguard should not be used beyond one season, and that it should be replaced when it starts to look worn.

If you or your child needs a mouthguard for sports or recreation, Dr. Pam Chamberland can work with you to create one that can effectively protect your smile. If you live in the Shelbyville, Tennessee, area, you can make an appointment at Chamberland Dentistry by calling 931-684-9167.