Let me ask you another question, how long do you keep your mouth guard? Did I just hear crickets? I'm pretty sure I did. Most derby girls keep their mouth guards for way too long, and guess what ladies, that's kind of gross. In fact, I'm pretty sure the zombie apocalypse will happen because a derby girl has kept her mouth guard forever and will go feral.
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First of all, are you rinsing your mouth guard after every practice? Most of us throw it into a our skater bag and hope it's there for the next practice. This is the first no no of mouth guard maintenance. After each use, you really need to rinse your mouth guard and let it completely dry before it gets jammed back into your bag. The drying is key; if you let it stay damp, it just allows bacteria to grow and get really disgusting. Some experts say you should brush your mouth guard with toothpaste and a brush, but this will also wear the plastic out after a while. Some skaters soak their mouth guards in denture cleaning solution, or even peroxide. Even with this kind of treatment, plastics break down, bacteria grow and funkiness ensues.
Here is another tip; according to some dentists, you really should be brushing your teeth before you put your mouth guard in, Clearly, these dentists have never been to a derby game or practice; I myself have chewed gum while wearing my mouth guard (oops) and people are always drinking energy drinks before putting their mouth guards in. Evidently, the MMA association has made a mouth guard spray to help keep things sanitary; I have no clue if it's worth the money, but here is the link. Mouth guard sanitzer
Do you leave your mouth guard in a hot car? This is the third no no with mouth guard maintenance. If the car gets too hot, your mouth guard can deform and lose its proper shape, which doesn't protect your teeth at all. Experts say that you should be checking your mouth guard for wear and tear every month or so. Are you a mouth guard biter? If so, you really need to take make sure you don't have any holes in it. Are you looking at your mouth guard now?
Finally, the longest time you should be keeping your mouth guard is six months; it doesn't sound like it's long enough, but even if you follow cleaning protocol to the letter, the plastic can still grow some pretty nasty creepy crawlies, including staph. Ew. Your gums are easily irritated, and all of that gruesome stuff can enter your bloodstream quickly.
Did I scare you into throwing your mouth guard out yet? If so, check out my favorite mouth guards in the world. You can talk clearly with them, they fit tightly, and they are way more comfortable that having an awkward hunk of plastic hanging out of your mouth.
My favorite mouth guards