When you’re an athlete, wearing a mouth guard is critical to protecting your teeth from impact—especially if you’re involved in a contact sport. But as this custom dental appliance helps defend your smile, it is exposed to a variety of potentially harmful conditions. Fortunately, if you follow the advice of your dentist and care for the oral device, you can keep it intact. To help you get the most out of your appliance, here are some essential tips for mouth guard care.
5 Steps to Keeping Your Athletic Mouth Guard In Good Condition
1. Brush & Rinse Regularly
Any time you wear your mouth guard, you expose it to oral bacteria that can contribute to cavities and gum disease. To minimize these risks, you should clean the appliance both before and after you wear it. For proper cleaning, scrub all sides of the device with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Next, rinse it in cold water.
2. Don’t Chew On It
Although this oral appliance may be designed to fit inside your mouth, it isn’t made for chewing. In fact, grating your teeth against the mouth guard may cause small holes to form. In addition to impacting the device’s performance, this wear will also provide a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
3. Store When Not In Use
As semi-pliable objects, mouth guards can warp when they are not stored properly. For this reason, you should always keep the device in its designated container any time you’re not using it. Before storing it in the case, make sure the guard is completely dry, as moisture can contribute to bacterial growth and distortion.
4. Avoid Exposure to Heat
Mouth guards are made from materials that can change shape when they are exposed to heat. If warping occurs, the appliance may not fit properly and end up causing discomfort. As such, it’s critical to keep these devices out of hot water and away from direct sunlight.
5. Know When to Replace It
Even with proper care, mouth guards will need to be replaced when they’ve experienced considerable wear or when your teeth have changed. Whenever you visit your dentist for routine teeth cleaning, bring your mouth guard along. Your dentistry provider will be able to tell if the device still fits properly and if it needs to be replaced.
If you’re an athlete in the Cincinnati, OH, area, Dr. Robert Petrtyl, DDS can introduce you to high-quality mouth guards to keep you safe during gameplay. As an experienced family dentist, Dr. Petrtyl knows how to comfortably craft custom oral appliances for both adults and children. He is also able to provide devices for a variety of other issues—including those that help treat sleep apnea or correct nighttime teeth grinding. To learn more about the comprehensive care they offer, visit this dental office online. To schedule a dentist appointment, call (513) 554-4657.