School has started in Broomall, PA and the surrounding area and so has your kids’ fall sports season. You’ve scrambled to get equipment together — helmets, shin guards, and shoulder pads. But you wouldn’t have them play baseball, soccer or football without their protective gear, right? It’s also obvious you’d want to protect them from a fastball straight to the teeth on the baseball field, or a fierce elbow to the jaw on the basketball court. And they all agree, the best way to protect them is with a well-fitted mouthguard.

Three million teeth get knocked out each year in youth sports, and athletes are 60 times more likely to experience tooth injuries without a mouth guard. Yet, 67% of child athletes don’t wear one. As families gear up for back-to-school sports, it’s important to remember that the smallest piece of sports equipment may be the most essential to safeguarding that smile and stopping dental emergencies.  But it’s also important to keep it CLEAN!  It’s can become a petri dish for bacteria if you aren’t careful.

To take care of your sports mouthguard:

  • Rinse before and after each use, or brush with toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • To keep the mouthguard fresh, clean it in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  • When carrying, place it in a firm container that lets air in.
  • Don’t put the guard in the sun or in hot water, as it may distort or melt.
  • Check for wear and replace it when needed.
  • Don’t wear removable appliances, such as retainers, with a mouth guard.
  • Wear a custom-fitted mouthguard if you wear braces or have a protruding jaw, receding chin, or cleft palate.
  • Do not chew on or cut pieces off your mouthguard.
  • Wear it during practice sessions as well as games.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and be sure to visit your dentist before each playing season. Bring your mouthguard to each dental visit.

Remember, the right mouthguard can protect teeth, the tongue, jaw, and the entire mouth from injury during sports and play. They have even been shown to help prevent concussions resulting from head trauma. So, it’s no surprise professional athletes in virtually every sport have increasingly adopted mouthguards as part of their practice and game routine.

Repairing broken teeth or jaws, or replacing missing teeth with dental implants, not only can take months to heal, but also can run you in the thousands of dollars at the Periodontist.

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