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Sports and Protective Gear
There are 3 basic types of mouth guards:

Stock. These pre-formed, over-the-counter, ready-to-wear mouth guards are generally the least comfortable and, therefore, the least likely to be worn. Because of poor fit, they also offer the least protection and require constant biting down to stay in place.
Mouth-formed or “boil-and-bite." Made of thermoplastic material that conforms to the shape of the teeth after being placed in hot water, these mouth guards are commercially available and the most common type used by athletes. They vary in fit, comfort,
and protection.
Custom fit. This type of mouth guard must be made by a dentist for the individual. It is the most expensive, but also offers the most protection and comfort. Custom mouth guards are preferred by dentists and usually preferred by athletes because of their increased comfort, wear-ability, and retention, as well as ease of speaking when worn. This type of mouth guard is particularly important for adolescents with orthodontic appliances.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends properly fitted mouth guards for all children participating in organized and unorganized contact and collision sports. A contact sport is defined as one in which players physically interact with one another and try to prevent the opposing team or person from winning, such as basketball, wrestling, soccer, and baseball.

The AAPD supports mandates for use of athletic mouthguards in any sporting activity containing a risk of orofacial injury. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General recommends that we
"extend mandatory mouth guard use for all team sports sponsored by organizations, agencies and institutions."

In addition, helmet and face masks should be properly fitted and worn during all games and practices for the sports in which they are recommended. Face mask use in football reduces oral-facial injury risk by 50%, and the addition of a mouth guard reduces this risk to less than 1%. Statistically, children are more often injured in practice than during a game, so all protective gear should be worn during practice as well.

The Surgeon General's report also recommends “health promotion and education of trainers, athletes, and parents” to increase the use of protective sporting equipment, making this a potential area for improved advocacy and education.

Mouth guards are divided into 3 basic types: stock, boil and bite, and custom fit.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends proper-fitting mouth guards for all children participating in sports.
Athletes should wear all protective gear for both practices and games, as children are more commonly injured in practice.

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