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300 Wellington Street East, Aurora, ON L4G 1J5 I (905) 727-7043

Winter Fun Is Calling...

January 05, 2015

Did anyone else notice how COLD it is outside? When did winter happen? Why am I the last to know?

To be honest, I’m happy it’s cold out. As an active guy, winter offers so many awesome options it’s hard to know where to start. With hockey, snowboarding and indoor-just-about-everything-else, there are tons of ways to stay active and have fun. The drawback of course, is that they all bring with them a certain element of risk.

In recent years there’s been plenty of concern regarding sports injuries. In the blink of an eye you can go from situation normal to a chipped tooth or a severe concussion. Chips and fractures of the front teeth after sports-related accidents are relatively common. The situation to the right isn't the end of the world, but it's avoidable (and what’s the sense in being LESS pretty than you already are if you can help it?).

The good news is that we can treat chips like these relatively easily. However, knowing that prevention is the best medicine, you should consider a mouth guard along with the regular protective gear for whatever sport you’re doing. It’s the simplest way to protect your teeth from chipping and fractures during these activities.

When Should You Wear a Mouth Guard?



Choose a mouth guard when there is a chance of your head making contact with other participants or a hard surface. Winter sports where this can happen include hockey, lacrosse, football, basketball, indoor soccer, lacrosse and snowboarding.

What Types of Mouth Guards Are Available?



Stock Guards



The cheapest option, stock guards are available over the counter in a one-size-fits-all format, which means that there’s no real fit at all. When you wear a stock guard you have to keep your mouth closed for it to stay in place. This option is definitely less than ideal: stock guards interfere with speech and breathing and are generally pretty uncomfortable. Given that speaking and breathing are a 7 and 10 out of 10 respectively on the “fairly important in life” scale, this is a significant issue.

Mouth-Formed Guards



There are two types of mouth-formed mouth guards. The boil and bite guard is the most accessible and least expensive. In this example the guard’s material is heated and softened in boiling water and then placed in the mouth to form around the teeth using pressure from the finger and tongue. The second option is the shell liner guard, where acrylic is poured into a shell and placed in the mouth to let the acrylic take the shape of the teeth. These examples offer a better fit and greater protection than stock mouth guards, but can be bulky and don’t always fit well.

Custom Guards



This is the Cadillac option. If you can swing it, this type provides the best protection and fit and can be made to match individual requirements for breathing capacity and speech. Depending what sport you play, mouth guards can be custom fit to reduce impact, since each sport brings the potential for different types of contact to different areas of the head. The custom option offers the best protection by far and should be seriously considered by all athletes.

Caring For Your Mouthguard



If, after all this, I’ve convinced you to wear a mouth guard, do me a favour and wash it after you use it. These things get gross fast, and leaving yours to become a personal bacteria trap is a bad idea. When you can clean your mouth guard with a tooth brush and water after each use.

That’s it for now. Drop me a line and let me know what you're doing this winter to stay active.


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