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Sports and Braces

One of the first questions we’re always asked, whether it’s a child, teenager, or adult, is whether they can still play sports with their braces. The answer is always, “Yes, but with some precautions.”

This article will help you understand how to protect your braces – and yourself – from injury while playing sports with fitted braces.

Do This One Thing to Protect Your Braces During Sports

Here’s the good news: With a little-added protection, your braces will be fine. Traditional metal braces are made with tiny metal brackets that gradually straighten the teeth. Any blunt force trauma to the mouth, while you’re fitted with braces, will likely knock these brackets off-kilter, requiring a time-consuming and expensive visit to the orthodontist. Even being a hit by a Frisbee could do some damage.

When being fitted for braces it’s important to speak with your orthodontist about your lifestyle. This includes talking about the sports you (or your child) plays. We typically recommend in these instances that the patient wear an orthodontic mouth guard to protect the teeth. It is truly the one thing you can do to help protect your expensive orthodontia and still play sports.

Think of an orthodontic mouth guard as an extremely souped-up version of a traditional sports mouth guard. The ortho mouth guard is typically made of silicone, which is softer than the hard plastic you find in most mouth guards. The orthodontic mouth guard keeps your lips from bumping against your braces but also protects the braces themselves. Without the mouth guard, you’re more at risk for bleeding gums and broken braces if you receive facial trauma during sports.

The orthodontic mouth guard is larger than the regular sports mouth guards. That’s because they’re designed to fit over the braces. They also help protect your gums and jaw in addition to your teeth and braces.

One tip: Do not wear a standard sports mouth guard over your braces. It may fit (but it probably won’t) but it could cause an injury if you are hit in the mouth while wearing it. Sports mouth guards are not designed to handle the proper fit with braces on.

Cleaning your orthodontic mouth guard is pretty simple. Once a day, use toothpaste to wash it off or rinse it with an anti-microbial solution. That way no bacteria will have a chance to grow unchecked on its surface.

Of course, if you are an Invisalign patient, this is a moot point. Pop off the Invisalign and pop in a good sports mouth guard – and play ball!

You can order an orthodontic mouth guard from Dr. Truman, online, or typically even in a sporting goods store.

Additional Tips for Playing Sports with Braces

We also recommend talking with your coaches about your braces to find out if they recommend an upper and a lower ortho mouth guard. The level of contact in each type of sport varies, so be sure to consider every team you’re on. Contact Dr. Truman and his team if you have any questions or concerns about your braces. We’re here to help!

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