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Dr. Barfield, your Plano, TX dentist at 1st In Smiles, wants to remind you not to wear last season’s athletic mouthguard in this season’s games without coming in for a checkup.

Let’s take a thorough look at athletic mouthguards: what they are, why custom is better, and how to care for them.

What Is a Mouthguard?

Although Dr. Barfield and team are here to see you in a dental emergency, we do all we can to help our patients prevent one. One way to prevent an emergency is to wear a mouthguard when you participate in any athletic activity. Mouthguards cover your teeth, so any sudden collision or impact won’t damage them. It’s hard to appreciate your team winning the home game if you have to rush off the field with a knocked-out tooth.

And we do mean any athletic activity. Even solo sports like skateboarding can cause accidents that are dangerous for your teeth. Despite being a high-contact, rough-and-tumble sport, football players actually have far less dental injuries than sports like basketball, because football players wear mouthguards. And mouthguards aren’t just for boys! Female athletes have been shown to suffer more dental injuries than male athletes. You should wear a mouthguard during physical activity you might not even think of like karate, biking, and weightlifting.

Some possible dental injuries are:

  • Players in braces cutting the inside of their mouths.
  • Jaw and jaw joint injuries or even a broken jaw.
  • Loose tooth or tooth knocked out that could lead to the need for a dental implant.

Why Should I Get a Custom-Made Mouthguard?

Yes, stock athletic mouthguards are cheaper, but what are you sacrificing to save a few dollars? Custom-made athletic mouthguards are shaped around a mold of your mouth. As you well know, every mouth is different, which means mouthguards created for you by Dr. Barfield will be more comfortable and better fitting than anything you can buy at the store. The better the fit, the greater the protection.

Ill-fitting stock mouthguards can make speaking and breathing difficult. When you’re at the height of the action, you don’t want your game to be slowed down because you’re not getting enough air.

Dr. Barfield will make your custom mouthguard right here in our office!

How Do I Care For My Mouthguard?

Care for your mouthguard begins with care for your mouth. Be sure you are making all of your regular dental exams and dental cleanings, brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. This will help keep your mouth healthy and keep harmful bacteria at a minimum. Otherwise, your mouthguard could become a breeding ground for bacteria.

At the very least, you should rinse your mouthguard with cool water before every use. Never use hot water on your mouthguard or it might become misshapen. Along those same lines, don’t leave it sitting out in the sun either. It’s also recommended you brush your mouthguard with your toothbrush and toothpaste or use a denture solution to keep it clean.

In between games, store your mouthguard in a container that breathes — you would want fungus or mold growing on it! And be sure you store your mouthguard some place where Fido can’t reach it. Pets love to chew on mouthguards!

You should replace your mouthguard if you begin to form sores anywhere in your mouth. Generally, this is a sign that your mouthguard has become worn down and is torn, jagged, or has lost its original shape. Bring your mouthguard in with you for your exams and we can give it a once-over for you. Teens and children will likely need to replace their mouthguards every six months or so as they’re still growing and their mouths are still changing.

What Other Kinds of Mouthguards Are There?

1st In Smiles provides access to a TMJ and sleep apnea specialist to all of our patients. We can get you fitted for a TMJ mouthguard that will relieve tension in your jaw joint while you sleep and protect your teeth from teeth grinding or teeth clenching.

There are also mouthguards for sleep apnea and for snoring too. You and your honey no longer have to choose between sleeping in separate rooms for a good night’s rest or one person staying awake while the other sleeps soundly (or not so soundly if they’re the snorer!). And with a sleep apnea mouthguard, no more waking up throughout the night from a lack of oxygen.

Sports-related dental injuries are not uncommon. You could be doubling your chances of a dental injury while playing sports if you choose not to wear a mouthguard. A mouthguard is the simple bridge between enjoying sports and protecting your smile. Schedule an appointment for your custom mouthguard today. Call 972-380-8105 or use our quick online form.