Playing Sports With Braces

According to the National Sports Foundation, an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard. More than 5 million teeth are knocked out each year due to sports injuries and trauma.

We encourage all athletes, from organized sports to backyard warriors, to wear a mouthguard.

Braces are important for many athletes so they can display that  “winning smile.”  However it is important to protect the mouth and teeth while the smile is under construction.

With braces, special mouthguards are used that are not molded to the teeth.  A molded mouth guard will essentially make a retainer and halt the tooth movement.  We discuss the best option for our patients as braces are placed and when athletes enter their season.

The statistics on mouth injuries and sports are staggering.   Sports injuries in children accounts for 30% of all oral injuries and the vast majority could be avoided with proper protective gear.  The sports that require mouthguards: football, hockey and lacrosse; have very little mouth injuries.

The area most likely to be damaged is the upper front teeth and upper lip.  Breakage of the upper front teeth will cause lifelong dental expenses for aesthetic dental work that will need to be replaced several times over a person’s lifetime.

Interesting mouthguard facts:

  • Prior to the National Federation of State High Schools implementing mandatory mouthguards for certain sports, an athlete had more than a 50% chance of sustaining a serious oral and facial injury, after mouthguards were mandated, the oral injury rate dropped below 1%.
  • In children 7-12, baseball has the highest incidence of oral injury.
  • In children 13-17, basketball results in the highest incidence of oral injury.  The head and face accounts for 1/3 of high school basketball injuries.  This is a higher injury incidence than either ankles or knee injuries.
  • The highest overall incidence of sport orofacial injury is in boys age 15-18.

We are proud to be the official mouthguard provider to the 2014-2015 Mentor High School Sports teams.