Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Taking Care of Your Teeth While Playing Sports

Being active is an essential ingredient to great health. Yet, some activities such as contact sports present certain health threats to our bodies. One threat is the possibility of blunt trauma to teeth. Since our permanent teeth are irreplaceable we should take every precaution to protect them. Let's look at how to do so.

Keep Your Smile Safe!

To protect your smile during a sporting activity you'll need to protect your entire mouth. Doing so requires that your outer mouth, inner mouth, tongue, gums, and teeth are all adequately covered during medium-contact and high-contact sports, such as martial arts, hockey, football, rugby and similar sports.

There are several different kinds of mouth guards available that can accomplish this. Here are the most common:

• Boil guards - Available in small, medium and large, you buy the appropriate size for your mouth, and boil it in water until it softens. You bite into the softened guard to create a mold. It will harden and protect your teeth.

• Ready-to-wear - Sold at several locations, including sporting goods stores and larger department stores, these are available in several sizes. Although they are inexpensive, they do not offer complete protection because their fit is not exact.

• Custom guards - Providing a great fit, these are made by your dentist or orthodontist. The doctor makes a mold of your teeth, creating a guard that is an exact fit. These are custom-made and durable, so you are fully protected and the guard won't get knocked out of your mouth if it is hit hard during a game.

The Dirty Secret of Mouth Guards

We see professional athletes handle their mouth guards all the time during a game. However, few understand what they are truly exposing themselves to when they touch their mouth guard during competition. The prevalent attitude is to ignore the risk and continue playing. Studies from Oklahoma State University find the following contaminants are found on athletic mouth guards that have been mishandled:

- Blood
- Yeast
- Tobacco products
- Animal feces
- Chemicals
- Bacteria
- Viruses
- Urine

Regardless of the age or size of your athlete, you need to make sure their mouth guard is clean. If you are playing a team sport get with a coach or trainer about supplying a mouth guard rinse and try to keep your guard in during play. When in doubt ask your dentist or hygienist about ways you can keep your mouth guard clean.

Before putting a guard in, and after taking it out, you should brush and thoroughly rinse your teeth. This helps get any bacteria from your teeth and mouth before you put your guard on. Remember, your mouth always contains bacteria, both good and bad.

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