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Mom Mondays: Mouthguard Manglers

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What is a mouthguard?

According to Wikipedia, a mouthguard is “a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, arches, lips and gums.”

However, I believe Wikipedia got it all wrong!

A mouthguard is probably the world’s most popular chew toy for humans.

I’ve spend hundreds of dollars on mouthguards over the course of my life as a hockey mom, only to watch from the stands as that expensive piece of plastic dangles precariously from the lips of my kids sitting on the bench or standing in the goalie crease. Oh, you think I can’t see what you’re doing beyond that face mask, but I can. I see you gnawing away on $40 worth of surgical grade plastic. And it totally drives me crazy.

My kids assure me that as soon as the whistle blows (if between the pipes) or they hit the ice (for their shift), that mouthguard is safely back in their mouths where it’s supposed to be. But at any other time during the game, you know it’s hanging by its edge out of the corner of every hockey player’s mouth being nibbled and gnawed. After a season of chewing, you know what that little piece of plastic looks like. It looks about as attractive as a severed, slightly decomposed appendage. It looks like a giant piece of chewing gum lovingly regurgitated by the family cat. It looks like Grandma’s dentures soaking in Polident since 1972. Not a pretty sight.

After cheerfully selecting the most radical colours for their new mouthguard, kids will sit ever so calmly for the dental hygienist with the mouthguard form in their mouths. Yet the minute that mouthguard is ready, they start flipping that thing from one bicuspid to the next. Which is perfectly fine when the mouthguard is brand, spanking new but not so pleasant to think of when it’s been sitting at the bottom of the hockey bags for a couple of months. If not sitting at the bottom of the hockey bag, you’re bound to step on it, reminiscent of The Lego Years, as you walk through the basement storage room collecting some other piece of hockey equipment. The carrying case it came in is entirely redundant. 

As I sit here watching the finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, pondering impressive displays of facial hair, I realize that grown men playing professional hockey are no more mature with their mouthguards than are my unruly minor hockey players. They chomp and flip those things around even more expertly than their underage counterparts. I am assuming that at least these NHL players are a little more conscientious in cleaning them. 

Can they not just keep those things in their mouths until the end of the game? (Whether I like it or not, this is a rhetorical question).

I know Mouthguard Molly and the other dedicated dental hygienists spending their Saturdays at hockey tournaments selling custom mouthguards are going to hate me for saying this but… I HATE MOUTHGUARDS! They’re disgusting and I can’t wait until hockey season is over so I can just throw the putrid, filthy things away – or rather properly dispose of this hazardous household waste. Then the whole mouthguard nagging can start all over again next hockey season.

Three cheers for Mouthguard Molly – and all their mouthguard mangling customers!

Tags: minor hockey

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