Bacteria and germs on athletic mouth guards

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Updated: 10/29/2012 9:23 am Published: 10/28/2012 9:11 pm

The most intimate piece of safety equipment for an athlete could make them sick; mouth guards.

Athletic mouth guards are imperative to keep athlete's teeth and mouth safe during a game but cleaning it can sometimes be an after thought.

Dr. Richard Glass is a professor of Forensics and Pathology at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences; he says mouth guards can’t be over looked and must be cleaned and thrown away on a regular basis.

“It’s definitely something that parents and players need to be looking at when they consider potential injuries and potential illness,” said Dr. Glass.

Dr. Glass and other faculty members at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences have conducted extensive research on the contamination potential of both football and hockey mouth guards.

Dr. Glass says their research concluded there was a microbial contamination in the mouth guards of strep and staph, but that wasn’t all.

Bacteria, fungi, gastro-intestinal upset, organisms that could produce pneumonia and kidney failures and mold were also present.

“Anyone running up and the down the field with these mouth guards in place breathing these molds into their lungs, runs the risk of getting what they called exercise induced asthma,” said Dr. Glass.

Dr. Glass says he cautions athletes from chewing on mouth guards. He says a jagged mouth guard can act as portal for the germs. “It allows the organisms to easily be introduced into the blood stream,” said Dr. Glass.

Dr. Glass said he encourages athletes to replace their mouth guards every two weeks. He says sanitizing the mouth guard in an antimicrobial solution will also help to lesson the bacteria numbers.

The President of Sani Brands, Albert Dolceamore, told FOX23 the mouth guard study conducted at OSU-CHS caught his eye a few years ago. At the time, Dolceamore said he was researching for his antimicrobial product called Defense Sport Mouth guard Rinse.

“Basically all of the research I did took me right to Dr. Glass and his team at Oklahoma State University,” said DolceAmore, “These gentlemen are very well known and very well respected as forensic dentists.”

The Sani-Brands solution is currently available in 165 retail locations and supplies to all 32 NFL teams.

Biologists in the laboratory reiterated that a trifecta must be present in order for an individual to become sick. The bacteria must be present, but it must also find a way to enter your body, for instance a cut or a sore. You must also be susceptible to it such as having a compromised immune system.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

OKdan - 11/8/2012 11:05 PM
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My son uses the tablets from - no hassle and it keeps fresh easily. I know some of his teammates use Defense and it works pretty well too.
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