Braces Tips for Athletes - Thomas Orthodontics

Braces Tips for Athletes

Teen playing football with braces mouthguard.

Playing sports with braces doesn’t have to be a challenge. We are here to help you play smart and safe while maintaining your winning smile. By following these tips, you can protect your teeth, stay on track with your orthodontic treatment, and continue to enjoy your favorite athletic activities.

The Importance of Protecting Your Braces

Why is it so important to protect your braces while playing sports? The reality is engaging in contact sports or other physical activities is fun and healthy, but it can result in facial injuries. Being at risk for these types of injuries means you are at risk of damaging your braces.

By taking the right precautions, you can minimize these risks and ensure that your orthodontic treatment remains on track.

Invest in a Mouthguard

One of the most important tips for athletes with braces is to invest in a mouthguard. A mouthguard covers your teeth and braces, shielding them from impact and reducing the risk of injury.

But not all mouthguards are created equal. When you have braces, it’s best to use an orthodontic mouthguard. These mouthguards are specifically designed to accommodate braces, providing extra protection for your orthodontic appliances and the soft tissues of your mouth.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is always important, but it’s even more critical when you have braces. Food particles can easily get trapped in your braces, leading to plaque buildup and an increased risk of cavities or gum disease. These issues make your teeth weaker and more susceptible to injury.

Consider using special orthodontic tools like interdental brushes or floss threaders to make cleaning around your braces easier. Additionally, an antimicrobial mouth rinse can help keep your mouth fresh and healthy. And don’t forget to schedule regular dental cleanings and check-ups.

Choose the Right Gear

High-contact sports like football, lacrosse, and hockey pose a higher risk of injury to your braces and mouth. However, this doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite activities altogether. By taking the proper precautions, you can still participate in contact sports. In addition to your mouthguard, make sure to wear a helmet, along with any other recommended protective gear, to stay safe.

Alternatively, consider engaging in lower-impact sports like swimming, golf, tennis, or track and field while you have braces. These activities pose less risk to your orthodontic appliances and can still provide excellent physical exercise.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Accidents can happen, even when you’re taking all the necessary precautions. If you experience a braces-related emergency while playing sports, it’s essential to know how to handle the situation.

Keep a small braces emergency kit with you, including orthodontic wax, a small mirror, and over-the-counter pain relief medication. If a bracket or wire comes loose and is poking your cheek, use the wax to temporarily secure the bracket or cover the sharp end of the wire until you can see your orthodontist.

Be Mindful of Your Diet

A healthy diet is essential for athletes. But when you have braces, you’ll need to pay extra attention to what you eat. Certain foods can damage your braces or cause them to come loose, which could lead to painful injuries or delays in your treatment.

As a general rule, avoid hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy foods, as they can break brackets, bend wires, or get stuck in your braces. Stick to softer options that are easier on your orthodontic appliances, and be sure to cut up fruits and vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated, too. Drinking water is essential for your health and can help rinse away food particles that might be trapped in your braces.

Communicate with Your Coach

Don’t forget to inform your coach about your braces. They should be aware of your orthodontic treatment to make any necessary accommodations and ensure your safety while participating in sports. Your coach has probably worked with other players who have braces and may have useful tips as well.

Follow Your Orthodontist’s Advice

Your orthodontist is your best ally when it comes to playing sports with braces. We know your specific treatment plan and can offer personalized advice on how to protect your braces and teeth during athletic activities.

Follow our recommendations closely, and don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure about anything. We’re here to help you and ensure that your braces do their job effectively.