Health & Safety

May 4, 2018

Mouth guards: keeping your smile in check

by Tech. Sgt. ROBERT PENN
56th Dental Squadron

Proper mouth protection is essential when playing sports. An appropriately fitted mouth guard is an important piece of athletic gear that helps to prevent injury to teeth and soft tissues in the mouth.

According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouth guard. Mouth guards help buffer an impact that otherwise could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face. Also, mouth guards may reduce the rate and severity of concussions.

Do I need a mouth guard? The simple answer is yes! Anyone engaging in organized sports or recreational activities should wear a comfortable, well-fitted mouth guard that is easy to clean.

There are three types of mouth guards: stock, “boil and bite,” and custom fabricated by a dentist. All mouth guards provide some level of protection but vary in design, fit and price.

Here are some tips to get the most out of a mouth guard, according to The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Wash it in cool soapy water and rinse it off well before and after each use. For even better protection against germ build up, brush the guard with a toothbrush and toothpaste before and after every use. Also, don’t chew on the mouth guard and replace when it shows signs of wear and tear.

Don’t forget to keep your smile in check with a mouth guard. Active-duty personnel can contact Luke Dental Clinic at 623-856-7535 to have a custom mouth guard made.

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