According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries, sports accidents reportedly account for 10 to 39% of all dental injuries in children and are most often caused by direct hits with a hard object, such as a puck or ball, and player-to-player contact.
- After use, wash mouth guards in cold, soapy water or use a denture-cleaning tablet to freshen up your mouth guard. Rinse and dry it. Store it in a plastic container.
- Keep your mouth guard storage case clean and dry.
- Keep your mouth guard away from high temperatures, which may cause distorting. Do not store it in direct sunlight, leave it in a car on a hot day or place it in hot water to disinfect.
- Bring your mouth guard to your dentist during regular dental cleaning appointments for evaluation and necessary adjustments.
- Replace your mouth guard every six to 12 months (or at least each sports season). Developmental changes in the mouth can affect the fit of the mouth guard and make it uncomfortable to wear and less protective.
- An adult mouth guard can last several years, depending on the frequency of use and the care of the mouth guard. Replace your mouth guard if it has been torn or bitten through.
“Wear proper facial protection gear – including mouth guards – to help guard against dental and facial injuries when participating in sports,” said Clark Hammock, DMD, P.A., executive vice president/C.B.O. of Dentistry of the Carolinas. “Talk to your dentist who can help ensure you get a properly-fitted mouth guard that provides the right protection.”
National Facial Protection Month is sponsored by the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists.