The American Dental Association estimates that nearly one-in-five sports-related injuries every year are maxillofacial injuries. Any type of contact sport runs the risk of an injury from a wayward ball or elbow. This is why mouthguards can be really important for kids playing any sports. This is especially true for kids who wear braces!
Benefits of Orthodontic Mouthguards
A mouthguard protects your child from the devastating effects of a collision to the face during a sporting event. If your child is being treated with braces from our orthodontist, Dr. Natalia Valderrama in Suntree, Viera, or Rockledge, a mouthguard can protect them from a serious injury to the teeth or the insides of the cheeks.
The occasional accidental blow to the face is going to happen in any type of rough-and-tumble sport. But just imagine having wires and metal brackets attached to your teeth when it happens.
A mouthguard protects against injuries to the tongue, lips, face, jaw and inner cheeks. A custom-fitted mouthguard protects all of the soft tissues inside the mouth from damage, if your child should catch an elbow or soccer ball during practice or a game.
Some Tough Talk about Mouthguards
Ready for some tough talk? If you are being treated with traditional wire-and-bracket braces, you need to wear a mouthguard for sports. If a child with braces is unwilling to wear a mouthguard, then we recommend to the parents that they seriously consider prohibiting their child from participating in sports. The risk of injury to the soft tissues inside the mouth is simply too great. Even non-contact sports like gymnastics or figure skating run the risk of a maxillofacial injury, so we ask that all our patients take this seriously.
If you are being treated with braces from Valderrama Orthodontics, we strongly recommend that you wear a mouthguard — or avoid sports until your time with braces comes to an end.
Types of Mouthguards for Kids in Sports
There are three different types of mouthguards that are available for kids in sports:
- Stock Mouthguards: You can buy these off the shelf at most pharmacy-type stores. However, their downfall is that they typically don’t fit very well and usually don’t fit at all if you wear braces.
- Boil-and-Bite-Mouthguards: These are mouthguards that are first softened by boiling them in water. You then bite down on them, to give them a sort-of accurate shape compared to your mouth. These typically don’t work well if you wear braces.
- Custom Mouthguards: These are created for a customized, perfect fit by Valderrama Orthodontics. We recommend these if you have braces or not!
Custom mouthguards cost more than the cheaper drugstore types of mouthguards, but they are the absolute best option if your child wears braces. We also make them for teens or adults who have fixed bridge work!
Any type of blow to the face runs the risk of damaging the mouth’s soft tissues especially if you wear braces. A custom-fitted mouthguard, however, provides a cushion between the wire and brackets and those soft tissues. Other than avoiding sports entirely, there is simply no better way to avoid serious damage to the mouth’s soft tissues from your braces.
Caring for Your Child’s Mouthguard
Mouthguards are made from durable plastic materials, but they can still be damaged. Follow these tips to ensure that your child’s mouthguard lasts for the entire sports season:
- Brush the mouthguard with toothpaste before and after each practice or game
- Wash the mouthguard periodically with cool water and soap
- Keep the mouthguard in a vented container when transporting it
- Avoid heat, hot water, and direct sunlight on the mouthguard
- Check for damage or wear and tear, in case the mouthguard needs replaced
Next Sports Season Coming Up? Contact Us!
If your child wears braces already, then our office has probably already advised you about a sports mouthguard. But if sports is a new thing for your child or you want to know more about protecting their mouth during sporting events, contact us. We provide a full suite of orthodontic treatments at Valderrama Orthodontics, including lingual braces, bride braces, Invisalign teen, and more. Contact us to schedule your next appointment!