Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential when you have braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that you wear a mouthguard.
Types of mouthguards
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are two basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard and the "boil-and-bite" fitted mouthguard. As we are moving teeth, the "boil-and-bite" mouthguards will not work well during orthodontic treatment.
Dr. Meinhardt recommends either the Shock Doctor Braces mouthguard or the Under Armour Braces mouthguard. These are available online from various distributors or at select local department stores. They are available in different sizes and various colors which make them fun for kids to wear.
Taking care of your mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently scrub your mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and soap.
- Store your mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
- Replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your mouthguard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard. Mouthguards come in different shapes and sizes; ask your dentist which is best for you.
- Bring your mouthguard to each dental checkup, so your dentist can check to make sure it's still in good shape!
Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries incurred by athletes. Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports-related injury to your smile. Be sure to ask your doctor about mouthguards at your next appointment — GO TEAM!