April is National Facial Protection Month, but the importance of wearing helmets and mouth guards for physical activities can’t be stressed enough at any time of the year. Luckily, we’ve noticed that most of our patients are already well aware that facial protection is an essential part of any sporting activity. So you’ve already got a sports mouth guard… now, how to keep it in the best shape so it can serve its purpose most effectively? Put these care tips to use:
-Clean your mouth guard after each use. If possible, scrub it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste or a tiny bit of very mild soap. If you are not able to wash it that thoroughly right away, at least give it a good thorough rinsing with cold water. Avoid hot water though, as heat can warp it.
-Do not leave it in the sun, since, as stated above, heat can warp the plastic. So don’t store it in the trunk of the car (or any place hot) along with the rest of your sporting equipment, or in the glove box, or in direct sunlight.
-Store your mouth guard in an appropriate container. You want a hard well-ventilated container. A hard sturdy container will help to protect it from physical harm, while ventilation holes or vents will allow it to dry out thoroughly between uses. Most sports guards come with this type of container, and you should be able to find one at your local drugstore if it wasn’t included.
-Soaking your appliance in Listerine or any good antiseptic mouthwash occasionally can help to clean and disinfect it and remove stains and odors.
-Frequently inspect your mouth guard for wear and tear. Look for rips, tears, and holes that may affect the fit or the ability to protect your teeth and surrounding tissue.
-Finally, do not abandon it in an empty parking lot, like poor example pictured. It’s not possible to have it with you and in your mouth protecting your teeth during your sporting events and practices if you lose it, silly! Taking good care of it also means keeping it in a safe place at the ready for use when needed. But life happens, so if you do lose it, just get a replacement right away!
Wearing a mouth guard can help save the pain and expense of repairing an injury, and dentist-fabricated customized mouth guards offers the best protection of all. But whatever type of mouth guard you use, take care of it so it can take care of your teeth. And please do bring it along to any appointments you have so Dr. Vancil or someone on the Mall of Georgia Dentistry team can look it over for you too. #brushfosssmile and #wearyourmouthguard! :)