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Athletic mouth guards are made of soft plastic. They are adapted to fit comfortably over the upper teeth. Mouth guards are important because the average cost of dental treatment over a lifetime for one tooth lost is approximately $5,000. When it comes to sports equipment, mouth guards are a priority. They protect not only the teeth, but the lips, cheeks, and tongue. They also help protect a person from concussions and jaw fractures.
People should wear a mouth guard whenever they are involved in an activity with a risk of falls or of head contact with other players or equipment. This includes football, baseball, hockey, skateboarding, even gymnastics. We usually think of football and hockey as the most dangerous sports for teeth, but nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball. Any mouth guard is better than no mouth guard. However, it is important to choose a mouth guard that fits comfortably. If a mouth guard interferes with breathing or speech, or if it feels bulky, it won't be worn.
When not in use, all mouth guards should be stored in a plastic container to avoid damage due to excessive heat or cold. They should be washed after each use, using cold or lukewarm water. Hot water may cause distortion. Prior to insertion, a mouth guard may be rinsed in mouthwash to freshen the taste. As a general rule, it is recommended that a standard mouth guard be replaced every two to three years.
Whatever your age or sport, mouth guards are an important part of sports safety and your exercise routine. Do what you can to protect your smile and preserve your health. Ensure that you have a properly fitted mouth guard made by a professional.