It’s Game Time! What to Know About Orthodontic Care and Sports

If your child is participating in sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is important to know the facts to keep their teeth and equipment safe while they play. Competing in sports and continuing on a safe path to aligned teeth are two very important things! In order to make sure they can do both, here are some tips on how to ensure your child’s orthodontic health stays stellar this sports season.

Mouthguards

A common misconception about using mouthguards is that they are only necessary for contact sports, like soccer, hockey, basketball, baseball, softball, etc. But the list of sports for which mouthguards should be worn is longer than you might think! Protection should be worn in any sport that could involve contact of any kind with the face or even falling.

Just some of the sports that the American Dental Association recommends mouthguards for include gymnastics, volleyball, skiing, bicycling, equestrian events, and more. A good rule of thumb is that a mouthguard can’t hurt! If you’re unsure if your child should have a mouthguard this season, check with our orthodontists at your next appointment. Each year, mouthguards prevent expensive damage to equipment and painful injuries to the teeth, lips, cheeks, tongue, or gums.

Invisalign®

While wearing mouthguards with braces is a more well-known topic, you might be unsure what to do if your child is wearing Invisalign this sports season. Though Invisalign fits over teeth, it is not a suitable replacement for oral protection. It is typically recommended that Invisalign is removed and replaced with a mouthguard during sports. However, consult our orthodontists for specific instructions about your child’s treatment. No matter what, make sure that your little sports star is wearing aligners long enough each day. If your aspiring athlete replaces their Invisalign with a mouthguard during play, they must put their aligners back in after play is over.

Sports drinks

Sports drinks, like Gatorade, are very popular as a quick method to get electrolytes and hydration. But did you know that the sugars and acidity packed into these drinks can be very harmful on your child’s teeth? In fact, sports drinks can be even more damaging to teeth than sodas! The high acid content weakens the enamel, which can lead to tooth decay. This also puts the teeth at risk for tissue damage under the enamel, hypersensitivity, and higher susceptibility to staining. To better care for your child’s teeth this season, try having them use a straw with their sports drink or opt for a dental-friendly alternative, like water.

Stay safe for a happy smile

This season, you wouldn’t forget a helmet or shoulder pads. So, do not skip oral safety equipment! You will not regret keeping your braces, teeth, gums, and mouth protected.