As the mother of four boys (well, two are technically men now, but since they still don't know where to find their own clothes, I feel comfortable calling them boys), I have clocked A LOT of hours at ball fields. My boys' sport of choice was football.
Football is a very gear intensive sport. From cleats to helmets and everything in between, it's a bag full of stuff. And with football, you do need to sweat the small stuff- like the mouth piece. It protects not only the teeth, but it also reduces the risk of concussion. So, a good fitting mouth piece (or mouth guard) is essential.
And it's relatively easy!
(I can say that now because my husband has been doing them for twenty years. Some of those early attempts looked like Picasso masterpieces- especially when the kids were young and not so eager to stick something in their mouths that was freshly pulled out of boiling water!)
So, here are some tips for easy mouth piece creation and care:
In the beginning...
We always start with two or three mouth pieces, so we have a back-up if they are messed up or aren't a good fit. If they're all good, we keep them. My sons always carry at least one reserve mouthpiece in their travel bag. It's a violation to play without one (not to mention not smart!) and the last thing we want is for our kids to have to "borrow" one from a sideline player because theirs was lost in the mud after breaking off the helmet.
1. Boil a pot of water on the stove.
2. Have a cup of cold water and a timer ready. Once the water is at full boil, drop the mouth piece in, holding it by its stem. Make sure to have a butter knife handy. The plastic piece is buoyant, so you may need to hold it under.
3. Boil mouthpiece for 30 seconds.
4. Quickly remove mouthpiece and dip in the cold water for just a second. The butter knife comes in handy here too. It helps stabilize the now soft piece.
5. Pull out of the water and quickly put it in the mouth:
- Bite down gently, yet firmly on the mouth piece, so not to put holes in it.
- While biting down, have your player suck in on the mouthpiece and press the top of it against the roof of his mouth. At the same time, you should press the mouthpiece into his teeth with your thumbs to get the best fit.
In the End...
Best way to keep a mouth piece clean and fresh? Soak it in Listerine when not in use. Not only will this reduce bacteria, but it will be much tastier than a soap and water wash.