Q&A: Do Sports and Braces Mix?

grils wearing braces during sports

Question: Can you wear braces during sports? It’s a common question, asked by parents and kids all over the country who wonder if they can hit the field or run onto the court with their new braces.

Answer: The short answer is yes. You can absolutely wear braces while playing sports, as long as you take the necessary precautions. What does that mean? How do you do it? Here are a few more common questions, along with some helpful answers.

Q: What are the necessary precautions?

A: At the very least, you’ll need a mouth guard, which prevents your teeth from scraping against or even biting your lip while also protecting your braces from damage.

Q: Can you play soccer with braces?

A: Yes, as well as football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, water polo, tennis, rugby, boxing, and even Frisbee, as long as you have basic protection for your mouth.

Q: Can you wear a normal mouth guard with braces?

A: No. If you wear braces, you’ll need a special orthodontic mouth guard for braces. Your typical sports mouth guard is made of hard plastic. An orthodontic mouth guard or braces mouth guard, on the other hand, is composed of silicone and tends to be much larger so that it can fit over brackets and wires.

Q: Can you play sports right after getting braces ?

A: Yes, as long as you wear a mouth guard.

Q: Are mouth guards required?

A: Check with your school or league. Some require mouth guards. Others don’t. In either case, you’ll want to wear one every time you practice or play a game. That’s the only way to protect your lips, gums, teeth, and braces.

girls playing soccer with braces

Q: What happens if you don’t wear a mouth guard?

A: You may cut your lips, cheeks, and gums. You also risk broken brackets, loose wires, chipped teeth, or even fractured tooth roots.

Q: How do you clean a mouth guard?

A: In the same way you would clean clear braces or a retainer, by using a toothbrush and soap and/or by soaking it in an anti-microbial solution. It’s important that you clean your mouth guard every day or after every use in order to sanitize it.

Q: What is a “boil-and-bite mouth guard”?

A: It’s simple: You boil the mouth guard in water, and then bite into it to mold it to your teeth. These type mouthguards are not recommended to use while wearing braces. The “molding” process can bend or break the wires/brackets – Plus, you may get the indention of the form of your teeth with braces; but you won’t get the mouthguard to conform to all the detail of the braces and teeth.

Q: Can you use a boil-and-bite mouth guard with braces?

A: Orthodontists don’t recommend wearing this style of mouthguard. They may be cheaper, but, the risk far outweighs any benefit.

Q: Is there a better alternative to boil-and-bite mouth guards?

A: Yes. You can get a custom mouth guard from an orthodontist, which is made of better materials and fitted to your teeth using more precise, more state-of-the-art technology.

Q: What should I do if I get injured while playing sports?

A: If the injury is serious, you might want to see a doctor or even visit an urgent care facility to make sure you don’t need stitches or antibacterial treatment. No matter the severity of the injury, you’ll want to visit our orthodontics offices in Annapolis, Crofton/Gambrills, Bowie, and Greenbelt. We can survey the damage, help treat the wounds, and fix any broken appliances.

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