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Many students love playing sports, and parents enjoy watching their children on the field or court. But the fun stops once a mouth injury occurs. Help keep your children safe all year long by reminding them to wear a mouth guard during every practice and every sporting event!

Mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries yearly, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. However, mouth guards are underused and can only work when they’re worn. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) reported that 67 percent of parents polled say their children do not wear a mouth guard.

What is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is a small, plastic or silicone U-shaped accessory that is placed over the teeth. The mouth guard acts as a shield to help absorb any impact to the mouth, helping prevent or minimize sports-related injuries to the teeth and jaw.

When Should a Mouth Guard be Worn?

A mouth guard should be worn during any activity in which the mouth may come in contact with a hard object or the pavement. This includes sports such as football, basketball, baseball/softball, tennis, boxing, etc. It’s also recommended that a mouth guard be worn during leisurely activities such as bike riding and rollerblading.

Individuals with or without orthodontic appliances (braces, Invisalign, etc.) should wear a mouth guard for protection. It’s important to keep the mouth guard clean and replace it frequently.

Where Can I Get a Mouth Guard?

Generic mouth guards are very inexpensive and can be purchased at most drug stores. People not in orthodontic treatment may want to ask their dentist about a custom mouth guard. Patients with braces or Invisalign will not want a custom mouth guard. Their teeth are shifting due to their treatment, so a custom mouth guard won’t fit for long. Neither should they boil a mouth guard to fit because, again, their teeth are shifting. Patients in orthodontic treatment should ask their orthodontist what type of mouth guard they should wear.

The bottom line about mouth guards is this: they don’t look cool and they may feel bulky. But they make a big difference. Wearing this simple, inexpensive device may protect against a lifetime of expensive, long-term problems.

If you’re a patient at Spillers Orthodontics in Warner Robins or Macon, GA, be sure to ask us about the best mouth guard to meet your needs. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation for braces or Invisalign, call Spillers Orthodontics at 478-953-2700 or visit us online at DrSpillers.com. We’d love to help you achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you’ve always wanted.