An athlete has a 10% chance of getting a mouth, face, or jaw injury every season they play. While this might seem like good odds to gamble on, one injury could go on to wipe you out for a whole season. So to reduce the risk of injury, you need to find the perfect mouthguard.
Great! That’s step one. Now actually learning how to protect it is step two. You can buy the best mouthguard on the market, but if you don’t take care of it, you won’t benefit from the protection. Here’s how you can make the most of your new gum shield.
You want to make sure your mouthguard is the right size for your mouth. Not only will an ill-fitting gum shield be uncomfortable, but it’ll also be less effective. A mouthguard with a personalised fit will mould to your teeth and gums and balance the best of comfort and protection.
If you’re a parent, make peace with the fact you’ll have to buy new gum shields as your child grows. Adult teeth come in at six or seven years old meaning protection should start early but one size won’t fit them forever.
While adult teeth are important and need protecting, the same can be said at any age. In the meantime, you can still buy excellent quality gum shields at competitive prices. You won’t have to sacrifice on a personalised fit either. You can get mouthguards with a self-fitting process, providing the best of both worlds.
Different sports also bring different impacts and so need different protection. Always make sure you pick a mouthguard that’s suitable for the specific sport you play.
When tensions are high on the pitch, it can be a comforting habit to chew on your mouthguard; a welcome distraction from the high-pressure situation.
But by chewing on your gum shield, you could tear or break it. It won’t protect you if it’s in two pieces. You could also leave tears or scratches in it. These will hold on to bacteria and make them unhygienic. And if bacteria gets beneath the surface, no amount of cleaning or scrubbing will help. So maybe it’s time to pick a new habit to get comfort from. Focusing on your breathing, perhaps?
Your gum shield will spend large amounts of time inside your mouth. So not only do you want to prevent bacteria transferring from the mouthguard to you, but also stop your own bacteria from damaging the mouthguard.
You want to rinse your mouthguard before and after every use. You also want to give it a thorough clean after every use. Alternatively, invest in a mouthguard that has an antimicrobial additive to save yourself this effort every time the gum shield gets used.
If you do still need to give it a clean, look into cleaning tablets for your mouthguard. You can find some here.
Avoid using toothpaste, mouthwash, or your toothbrush to clean your gum shield. Although it seems like common sense, it can be bad for it. Toothpaste or mouthwash will damage the mouthguard’s material and ruin its protection. While a toothbrush will scratch the surface, leading to similar problems as chewing.
To keep your mouthguard protected when it’s not in use, invest in a case if it doesn’t already come with one. You won’t want to put it in your mouth after it’s been rolling around with crumbs and dirt at the bottom of your bag! Try to clean your case once a week as well. There’s no point cleaning your mouthguard if it’s going to sit in an even dirtier case.
As your mouthguard is an investment in your health, it also pays to invest a little time and effort into taking proper care of it. By keeping your gum shield clean, protected, and intact you guarantee it can keep on protecting you.
At OPRO, we have a wide range of mouthguards for a variety of ball, stick, and combat sports. Our products combine a personalised fit with unrivalled protection and we partner with a lot of well-known sporting institutions, from England Rugby to Great Britain Taekwondo. Shop our full range here.