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Mouth guards: A smart choice for protecting teeth

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Autumn is almost here and with it, the beginning of many sports activities. Each year, thousands of people sustain injuries to the face while playing sports. Most people associate mouth guard use with sports such as football, hockey or basketball, but injuries to the face occur in nearly every sport.

One of the easiest ways to prevent a dental injury during sports activities is to wear a mouth guard.

Mouth guards can be worn comfortably and offer protection against an injury to your teeth, and may even reduce the severity of a concussion. There are two types of mouth guards, boil-and-bite or custom made mouth guards.

Boil-and-bite mouth guards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, are easy to adapt to your teeth and can be re-molded if needed. Ensure you adapt the boil-and-bite mouth guard prior to wearing during sports activities.

Both the Peterson and Schriever Dental Clinics offer custom mouth guards to active duty military members. A custom mouth guard is fabricated to fit each specific individual. Once fabricated, a custom mouth guard cannot be re-adapted. Active duty military members who are interested in a custom mouth guard should contact the dental clinic at which they are enrolled to schedule an appointment.

Regardless of which type you choose, the most effective mouth guard should be well fitting, comfortable and tear resistant. Always examine your mouth guard for tears and holes. A mouth guard that is torn can irritate your mouth and decrease its ability to protect your teeth. The dental clinic encourages those playing sports to get a mouth guard before the onset of the fall sports season.

Don't take your teeth for granted -- protect your smile with a mouth guard.

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