How To: Care For Mouthgards During Football Season

shutterstock_228407281Mouthguards are used to protect your teeth, especially during sports events. As fall hits, football season will be in full swing. Many players use mouthguards but do not know how to properly care for them.

How to Clean Your Mouthguard:

According to the American Medical Association, mouthguards are very effective at preventing dental injuries. However, it is essential to keep them clean. Without proper care, they will collect dental plaque and other debris that accumulates in the mouth.

Scrub. It is advised to rinse your mouthguard with cool water. Scrubbing it with a soft brush will help remove all trapped dirt.
Soak. After your mouthguard is scrubbed, it should be soaked in a solution that keeps it fresh. There are numerous soaks available in stores, or you can make one at home from vinegar and water. This solution should be kept cool. Since most sports mouthguards are made of plastic, warm temperatures may cause damage.

Mouthguard Maintenance:

Although sports mouthguards require little maintenance, certain tips will help keep them safe.

No heat. Since many mouthguards are crafted from plastic, heat will distort their shape. This means it is important to store guards away from sunlight or other sources of warmth.
Case. When your mouthguard is not being used, it is wise to store it in a hard case with ventilation. This protects the unit from physical harm and allows it to dry out.
Prevents Stains. To keep your mouthguard from becoming stained, it is important to avoid eating or drinking soda, tea, or other foods while the guard is in your mouth. Fortunately, many stains can be removed by soaking the guard in a bleach-based solution.
Avoid Abuse and Alterations. You should never chew on your mouthguard. This can create holes or tears that lower your mouth’s protection. If you want to make slight alterations to its fit, be sure not to trim too much. This may leave areas without adequate protection.

A mouthguard is an important piece of equipment, especially while playing contact sports. Keeping it clean and maintained will ensure your teeth are protected. For more tips, your family dentist will be able to supply more useful information.