Injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries incurred by athletes. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums especially when you have braces. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a mouthguard for most sports, so if you participate in athletics, be sure to tell your orthodontist.
Types of Mouthguards
Two types of mouthguards can be worn with braces:
- ready-to-wear mouthguard
- custom-made mouthguard
Although a third type called a "boil-and-bite" mouthguard is popular for its low-cost and custom fit, it doesn't work well with braces.
Ready-to-wear mouthguards are less expensive and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, while custom-made mouthguards are specially designed by your orthodontist to provide optimal protection.
Your doctor can help you choose and show you how to wear your mouthguard properly.
- Gently brush your mouthguard after each use
- Store your mouthguard in a protective case
- Avoid prolonged exposure to sun or hot water (which may deform your mouthguard)
- Replace your mouthguard at the start of every new sports season or if you notice excessive wear or that it no longer fits properly
- Remove your retainer before wearing your mouthguard
- Avoid chewing on or cutting pieces off of your mouthguard. (Mouthguards come in different shapes and sizes so you can choose the best fit.)
- Bring your mouthguard to each dental checkup so your doctor can make sure it's working properly.