Does Your Child Play Sports? How to Best Protect Their Mouth During Orthodontic Treatment

Kids these days are more active than ever! Participating in sports is a great way to keep our bodies healthy and happy. However, if your child has braces, they are at an increased risk of experiencing a mouth injury during these physical activities. Despite this increased risk, orthodontic treatment should never hold your young athlete back from full participation! Instead, we recommend taking precautions to ensure that your child does not suffer an injury that could bench them for the season. After all, September is National Childhood Injury Prevention Month, so it’s the perfect time to review the proper protective gear for your child’s sport participation. 

First and foremost, Drs. Hutta and Hutta recommend that your child always wears a mouthguard while engaging in any physical activity—whether that be an everyday practice or a game. Mouthguards are clear, soft plastic covers that are specifically designed to fit over your braces, teeth, and gums. You can ask our orthodontists for a recommendation based on your child’s specific athletic needs.

Why does your child need a mouthguard? 

Mouthguards provide protection for your child’s orthodontic appliances. An impact to the mouth can easily bend a wire out of place or knock a bracket off a tooth, which could require an impromptu and inconvenient trip to our office. 

Even more importantly, mouthguards can prevent injury to your child’s mouth. This is especially important when your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment, as the sharp edges of brackets can severely cut the inner mouth, cheeks, lips, and tongue upon impact. If your child bumps into another player on the field, they risk a painful injury to the interior of their mouth. Even during a non-contact sport, there is always the risk of falling. 

Beyond the braces, a mouthguard will provide important protection to your child’s teeth. According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard. 

This simple and inexpensive piece of gear could save your child a whole lot of pain down the line. In fact, the American Dental Association reports that mouthguards prevent an estimated 200,000 injuries each and every year. Unfortunately, the American Association of Orthodontics estimates that 84 percent of children neglect to wear mouthguards while playing organized sports. Let’s start to change those statistics! Schedule an appointment or call our office today to discuss the best mouthguard option for your child.