Each year over 5 million teeth are lost by people playing sports. This issue isn't limited to youth playing contact sports; athletes of all ages are affected. It's often the older athletes who have more random dental injuries such as falling off a bike or tripping and hitting their face. The majority of these cases are preventable by wearing a simple mouth guard. Mouth guards can protect the top teeth, gum, and soft tissue in your lips and cheek linings. Because your top teeth stick out more, they are more at risk for injury. Just like helmets and shin guards, a mouth guard should be part of the uniform even in non-contact sports. Although many sporting good stores sell boil and bite mouth guards, the most effect mouth guards are made by your dentist and take a few minutes to create. This is especially important if a person wears braces or has dental work. Caring for your mouth guard is similar to brushing your teeth. You can brush it out and rinse it between games to keep it clean and store it in a clean, dry container to prevent mold from growing on it. During your dental visits bring it in for your dentist to check its effectiveness. If your mouth guard shows signs of wear, it is time to replace it.