Does my child need to wear a mouthguard when playing sports with braces on? This is a question I am asked several times each week. The simple answer is yes. In fact, whether your child is wearing braces or not, mouthguards are a great idea to protect the health of your teeth while playing any sport in which there is the possibility of injury to your mouth.
Ironically, wearing braces actually helps protect your teeth from injury during sports in a way. I have seen several cases where a child has been elbowed or hit in the mouth, and were it not for the braces, they would have likely lost a tooth. The braces act as a splint for the teeth and provide “strength in numbers”. Instead of one single tooth absorbing the force of the blow, the force is spread across multiple teeth, thereby reducing its harmful effects. However, the effect the braces have on your lips and cheeks if you get hit in the face can be more damaging, then it would otherwise be without braces. A mouthguard will help protect your lips and cheeks from being cut or bruised in case of a sports accident and will also help provide the splinting effect to soften the blow.
There are a variety of different sports mouthguards available. The “boil and bite” mouthguards should be avoided while wearing braces. They will actually hinder the movement of the teeth and may pull some of the braces off during placement and removal. There are mouthguards designed specifically for use with orthodontic appliances and only these mouthguards should be used during treatment. Most orthodontists have orthodontic mouthguards available at their offices, or they can also be purchased at most sporting goods stores.
With the proper protection, you can continue to enjoy all the same activities you enjoyed prior to beginning your orthodontic treatment and keep your teeth healthy, safe and beautiful. If you have any questions about mouthguards for orthodontics, please visit our website at www.buddorthodontics.com or contact our office.