Protect teeth with mouthguards

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Amy Snyder
  • 71st Medical Operations Squadron Dental Clinic
When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of an athlete's standard equipment from an early age. In fact, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard.

Mouthguards help buffer an impact or blow that otherwise could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face. Mouthguards may also reduce the rate and severity of concussions. Even in non-contact sports like basketball, softball, gymnastics or skateboarding, mouthguards help prevent mouth and jaw injuries.

Tips for the proper care of a mouthguard include:
  • Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Make sure not to leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water.
  • Do not wear removable appliances, such as retainers, with a mouthguard.
  • Wear a custom-fitted mouthguard if you wear braces or have a protruding jaw, receding chin or cleft palate.
A dentist can make a custom mouth guard for an adult or child that is comfortable and offers superior protection. For active duty members, call the Vance Dental Clinic at 213-7307 to schedule an appointment for a custom mouthguard. Family members and civilians can contact family dentists to have one made. 

(Information courtesy of the American Dental Association)