How to Take Care of Your Custom Athletic Mouthguard

How to Take Care of Your Custom Athletic Mouthguard

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Care of Athletic Mouthguard
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There are many reasons to have the protection of an athletic mouthguard.

A mouthguard protects your teeth when you participate in physical activities that are potentially dangerous to your teeth and mouth.  But, have you ever thought about what you are doing to protect your mouthguard?

Your protective athletic mouthguard is always doing one of these three things:

Custom Athletic Mouthguard1 – Protecting you during an activity.
2 – Being stored, awaiting its next use.
3 – Getting cleaned.

Below, I will discuss some ways to care for your protective athletic mouthguard – whether it is being used, stored, or cleaned.

Caring For Your Protective Athletic Mouthguard While It’s In Use

Any time we have something in our mouths, we have a strong desire to chew.  It’s just human instinct.  When you have gum in your mouth, you want to chew.  When food enters your mouth, you unconsciously start chewing it.  So it is easy to see why some get into the habit of chewing on their mouthguards, especially while participating in nerve-wracking sports games!  Unfortunately, chewing on your mouthguard will drastically shorten its life.

The associate dean at my dental school is an avid football fan.  Many of the high school students in his community go to him to get custom mouthguards made.  He told us the story of an excellent high school football player who would chew through his mouthguard each week while he was sitting on the sidelines.  Consequently, the associate dean made him a new mouthguard before each and every game!  While this player was fortunate to have a football fan for his dentist, you may not be so lucky and the cost of replacing mouthguards on a frequent basis can really add up.

So, if you find yourself wanting to bite your mouthguard while you’re not in the game, try taking it out until you get back into the game so that you can extend its life.  But please do remember to put it back in!  Your teeth need protection.

How to Properly Store Your Protective Athletic Mouthguard

Once the game is over (and hopefully won), most players are focused on celebrating the victory and simply toss their custom mouthguard anywhere it will fit.

Many high school football players get into the habit of storing their mouthguards in their face-guards, helmets, or backpacks.  If the mouthguard is shoved in a tight place, it can easily get distorted.

Since custom mouthguards are made out of a soft plastic, any unnatural pressure can distort them and will result in a poor fit the next time they are used.

Ideally, you should get the cast of your teeth that your dentist used to make the mouthguard and put the mouthguard on that cast after each use.  That way, the mouthguard will conform to the cast and retain its custom fit.

However, a more practical way to store your mouthguard is in a case that your dentist can provide.  Be sure to keep it in a cool, dry place as heat can also distort your mouthguard.  Leaving your mouthguard in a parked car on a hot summer day could also seriously distort it.

How to Properly Clean Your Protective Athletic Mouthguard

Hopefully, you’re not just using and storing your mouthguard without cleaning it!  Like any dental appliance that sits in your mouth for a long period of time, custom mouthguards need to be cleaned.  Without regular cleanings, bacteria will multiply and cause unpleasant odors to develop.  This could even result in bad breath after wearing your mouthguard.

Luckily, cleaning your mouthguard is quite simple:

After you are done using it, simply rinse it off with cold water.  That’s all.

Many people want to use hot water since they think that will get it cleaner.  Remember, heat can distort your custom mouthguard.  You may also be tempted to use alcohol, denture cleaning products, or toothpaste to clean your mouthguard.  All of these cleaners can harm your custom mouthguard, especially the denture products and toothpaste since they are generally more abrasive.

The book, Craig’s Restorative Dental Materials recommends periodically deep cleaning your custom mouthguard with a solution of soap and water.  A mild liquid hand soap will work well for this.

Conclusion

As long as you treat your mouthguard with care while wearing it, store it in a proper container, and rinse it with cold water after each use, you can expect to get a long life out of your custom mouthguard.

Do you have any questions or comments about caring for your custom athletic mouthguard?  Please leave them in the comments section below.  Thanks for visiting OralAnswers.com!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Mouthguards are worn to protect your teeth, tongue, lips, face and jaw while playing sports. Sports mouthguards help in minimizing the impact of injury to the soft tissue in case your face is hit while playing. It also helps in preventing broken teeth and the need for any kind of dental appliances.

    Sports Mouthguards are used when playing contact sports like wrestling, boxing, hockey, soccer, basketball and other such sports. In a sport like wrestling, mouthguards are worn to protect the player from getting elbowed or kicked on the face. In a sport like volleyball, mouthguards are worn by players to protect their teeth from getting by a ball or falling down the ground and injuring the teeth and face. Irrespective of what sport you play, if there is a danger of being hit on the face, wearing a mouthguard will ensure adequate protection to your teeth and jaw. Finally, studies conducted by different Dental associations in the US has shown the wearing mouthguards help in reducing oral facial injuries like chipping and fracture of teeth, teeth roots and jaw.

    • Thanks for the helpful information on Mouthguards!

      Your site looks good for people who want to get a custom-made mouthguard without going to the dentist. Good luck!

  2. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

    • Thanks dental hygienist! It’s actually fun, in an interesting sort of way to do extra-curricular research as I write about dentistry.

      I try to write a new one each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The latest article is always featured on the main page.

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