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How To Clean Your Martial Arts Mouth Guard
As you know, mouth guard can get quite disgusting. After a martial arts class, mouth guards (i.e. worn for sparring) are often thrown back in their container and forgotten about. However, this means that bacteria, mold & fungus can grow on the saliva covered mouth guard. This problem is especially true for children.
A dirty unsanitized mouth guard can lead to mouth infections and even worse illnesses. According to MomsTEAM, "Staph bacteria found on mouthguards can not only cause skin infections but are also associated with heart problems (endocarditis, pericarditis), pneumonia, osteomyelitis, and food intoxication. Other species of bacteria and fungi found on football and hockey mouth guards are associated with many diseases, including meningitis, urinary tract infections, peritonitis, gum disease, wound infections, and exercise-induced asthma".
Many experts recommend cleaning the mouth guard and its container after every use. They also recommend using an antibacterial liquid soap and a soft tooth brush to clean your mouth guard. Mouth guards should not be "cleaned" with hot boiling water with the hope of killing the bacteria. Boiling water can cause an already customized mouth guard to lose its shape. This can result in mouth sores where the misshapen mouth guard rubs against the interior of the mouth.
According to Colgate, "Running water over your mouth guard is not enough to make it truly clean. The American Dental Association suggests cleaning a mouth guard by brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste regularly to remove any built up debris, then rinsing it with soapy water. Researchers have found that soaking mouth guards in antimicrobial solutions can reduce the amount of foreign organisms, as well. Keep your mouth guard clean by storing it in its protective case. Make sure the case has ventilation so that the mouth guard can dry and prevent regrowth of bacteria".
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