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Protecting Your Mouth

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Every year in the United States, kids lose about five million teeth playing sports. Losing teeth may be kinda neat when you're little and trying to weasel some extra coin out of the "tooth fairy" (do parents really believe we ever fell for that crap) - but there does come a time when looking like a toothless freak isn't worth that quarter you might get under your pillow.

If you think the best way to protect yourself from losing teeth is to wear a jock strap around your head, you're wrong. Try wearing a mouth guard. Mouth guards are mandatory in most parts of North America for sports like football, boxing, ice hockey, lacrosse and field hockey. But dentists and doctors believe that you should also be wearing a mouth guard for baseball, mountain biking, skateboarding and gymnastics. Wearing a mouth guard can be a bit uncomfortable at first but it's far less painful than having teeth or mouth surgery by some trigger happy dentist with a high vibration drill.

There are three basic types of mouth guards.

It's important to clean your mouth guard with soap and warm water. Keep it in a plastic case with lots of holes so it can dry - otherwise your guard will soon be home to tons of nasty bacteria. Don't ever wear someone else's mouth guard or you're likely to pick up some sort of mouth infection. If you wouldn't think of making out with the person, you definitely shouldn't be using their mouth guard either.

So, the next time you're playing a sport where you might get smoked in the mouth or face - think about using a mouth guard. Cuz you never know who the psycho behind that dentist drill might be.

  • Stock mouth guard - These are the cheapest but they also provide the least amount of protection. They can't be adjusted to fit your mouth which also makes them the most uncomfortable guard to wear.
  • Mouth-formed mouth guard - These can be shaped around your teeth by using your fingers or by biting down on the guard. They provide better protection than a stock guard and are still pretty inexpensive ($5 - $10.)
  • Custom-made mouth guard - The best kind of guard is one custom-made by a dentist using a mold of your teeth. Because it's fitted to your teeth, it provides better protection and is the most comfortable.
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