There are several areas of the mouth that are protected by a mouthguard during activity, and the teeth are some of the most well-known here. Ensuring the mouthguard properly protects the teeth is always important, and particularly so for those who wear braces or any other kind of orthodontic items in their mouths.
Luckily, there are numerous custom mouthguards that are meant to be personalized to specific mouths, including those who wear braces and other corrective items. What are some important considerations to make when purchasing and caring for such mouthguards? Here’s a rundown.
Variables in Purchasing a Mouthguard for Someone With Braces
Whether it’s you or your child selecting a mouthguard that needs to fit and remain comfortable despite the presence of braces in the mouth, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind while doing so:
- General fit: When it comes to any custom-fit mouthguard, you’ll want one that fits well, particularly when it comes to the front teeth. There should be an appropriate amount of space between your teeth and cheeks for ease in breathing while wearing the guard — you don’t want it so tight that breathing is inhibited or too loose that saliva can easily get inside.
- Ability to speak and breathe: The mouthguard should allow you and/or your child to speak and breathe easily while wearing it, but still offer all the protection needed for the activity.
- Versatility: A custom-fit guard is always best, but even if a pre-made brace guard is used instead, look for one that’s flexible enough to accommodate adjustments in teeth positioning, particularly if you or your child is to continue wearing the guard for an extended period of time.
Risks a Mouthguard Helps Avoid
Here are some of the specific risks a solid mouthguard helps you avoid if you wear braces:
- Cuts to the inner lips or cheeks: Those with braces will often experience cuts and scratches to their inner lips as a result of major activity, when the teeth are pushed against the lips. This is a major risk you’ll want to avoid, as it can quickly lead to infections and other complications if it’s not tended to immediately. This is where a mouthguard comes in, providing adequate protection directly to the teeth while also preventing damage to the lips.
- Braces damage: The braces themselves can become damaged if not properly protected, which is why it’s so crucial to have a guard present. The brackets can be easily damaged or broken due to forceful impact, especially in sports activities.
- Fractured teeth: Although it’s less common than the other risks, it’s still possible to suffer a fracture in one or several teeth when participating in certain activities while wearing braces. It’s not usually severe, however — you won’t experience the kind of pain that comes with a cavity-induced toothache.
Care for a Mouthguard to Protect Braces
If you wear a mouthguard on top of braces regularly, it’s vital to keep it both clean and in good condition. Make sure to:
- Clean it before and after each use: If the mouthguard isn’t cleaned before use, germs and other bacteria can easily accumulate on it, which can lead to complications when worn over time.
- Store it in a clean, safe environment: It’s important to store the mouthguard in a safe place when not in use, specifically one where there is no chance it can be contaminated by dust or dirt.
- Keep your dentist informed: If you ever notice any complication related to wearing the mouthguard, make sure to let your dentist know right away for advice — most concerns can be treated directly by them.
Keep the above tips in mind anytime you’re purchasing a mouthguard for yourself or anyone else who wears braces.