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How Long Should You Boil a Mouth Guard?

By Mike Virgintino

Mouth guards increasingly have become a vital piece of equipment for professional and recreational athletes. Once popular with mostly youth players, some of the toughest and strongest players are wearing them to reduce injuries such as concussions. Mouth guards come in two varieties--tailored by a dentist for a perfect fit or the more popular one size fits all that needs to be softened in hot water and fitted to the mouth.

Significance

Shaping a mouth guard around the teeth will protect a player from more serious injuries that can occur when the player comes in contact with the ground or other parts of the playing arena, with another player, or is struck with a ball or another piece of equipment.

Time Frame

After removing the mouth guard from its packaging, the time to boil the water, soften the mouth guard and fit it in the player's mouth will take less than five minutes.

Procedure

Boil water in a pot and remove it from the stove. Dip the hard mouth guard in the boiling water to soften it. Follow the specific instructions for the specific brand of mouth guard, but the average time to keep it submerged is 10 to 20 seconds. Remove the softened mouth guard from the water and place it in a container of cold water for several seconds. It will cool immediately for the athlete to place in his mouth.

Shaping the Mouth Guard

The player bites down on the mouth guard. With the tongue pushing against the various sections of the guard, take about 30 seconds to remove any air in the mouth that has been trapped between the teeth and the mouth guard.

Final Check

Remove the mouth guard, rinse it and insert it into the mouth again to ensure a good fit. If it doesn't fit comfortably, a small sliver of the end of the guard might be making contact with the gums. Trim this with scissors. Another option is to repeat the entire process with the same mouth guard until it fits comfortably in the player's mouth.

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