Most sports today require some form of protective gear for the athlete.  One that is often over looked, yet highly important is a mouthguard.  It has been reported that 40% of sports injuries are to the athletes face.  Mouthguards help protect your teeth, lips, tongue and gums.  They can also help prevent more serious injuries such as concussions.  Mouthguards can be bought pre-formed but usually end up bulky and uncomfortable for the athlete to keep in their mouth where it needs to be.  Mouthguards are also available where the athlete can form them to their teeth.  These also tend to be bulky, harden over time and retain odor and bad tastes.  The last kind of mouthguard is a custom made mouthguard.  The benefits of a custom fit mouthguard is that it is going to perfectly fit each individual athlete providing the most protection available.  They are bulky enough to protect but thin enough to be very comfortable.  They will not require the athlete to have a closed mouth for it to stay in place so speaking and open mouth breathing are easily accomplished.  Ask your dentist for more information about mouthguards at your next appointment.