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Mouthguards can save your mouth when you play

Taking care of your teeth doesn't mean just brushing and flossing — it means protecting them at all times, particularly when playing sports.

In fact, the American Dental Association recommends that anyone participating in a sport that carries a significant risk of injury — such as football, hockey and basketball — wear a mouth protector.

Mouth protectors, also known as mouthguards, typically cover the upper teeth and can help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth. Mouthguards can also reduce the risk of teeth getting chipped or knocked out during play or practice and help protect the teeth, lips, tongue, face and jaw. Mouthguards are recommended for children and adults who plays sports or participate in recreational activities that could result in a blow to the mouth.

"If they're old enough to play sports, they're old enough to wear a mouthguard," advised Dr. Ann Greenwell, a Louisville, Ky., dentist, in a July 29 article in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Ask your dentist about having a custom mouthguard made specifically for you. This will fit well and offer the best protection for your smile.

For more information about mouthguards, visit the American Dental Association's website at ADA.org and click on oral health topics. Or visit, "www.ada.org/2970.aspx?currentTab=1."

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

8/11/2010

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