Football and Braces

Do football and braces mix?


Football is at the heart of nearly every fall weekend in the South. From Thursday night middle school games to Saturday afternoon college games (or even Sunday afternoon, if you’re into NFL), we take our football very seriously.

But as parents, we also take our children’s safety and well-being seriously. That means making sure our little players – and the big ones, too – have the proper protective gear at all times. And that includes appropriate mouthguards.

Kid smiling wearing football gear and holding a football


While injury is always a possibility when playing football – or any contact sport – wearing braces shouldn’t sideline any player. Just make sure they have the proper mouth protection to go along with the shoulder pads and shin guards, and take these precautions: 

Don’t be afraid to add to the standard safeguards – Whether your son wears traditional braces, aligners, or retainers, you should consult with his dentist or orthodontist about adding supplemental protective wear to your child’s team-issued uniform. Mouthguards aren’t necessarily required for every position, but for a child who wears braces, they can provide valuable protection for the teeth and jaw.

Make sure your player is comfortable, too – In addition to proper protection, it’s important to make sure additional protective gear is comfortable to avoid minor cuts and scratches during play. Talk to your orthodontist about protective wax and other options to cover protruding wires or brackets on traditional braces. Even aligners and retainers can become irritants, but this can be addressed through filing and shaping.

Don’t forget: practice counts too – It’s easy to remember all the required parts and pieces on game day, but it’s just as important to use protective mouth gear during practices as well. Even when practicing without pads, mouthguards shouldn’t be optional. While practice drills and scrimmages may lack the intensity of a real game, the hits and falls are just as real.

Of course, players who wear braces aren’t the only ones who should pay attention to mouth safety during physical activities. More than 5 million teeth are knocked out each year, and the majority of those are lost during some kind of physical activity. In addition to tooth loss, active children also risk chipping, cracking, or breaking teeth.

As we head into football season, keep in mind that any sports equipment – even for individual activities like bicycling, skateboarding, or tennis – should include a mouthguard, whether over-the-counter or custom-fitted. To be sure your child’s braces and their teeth are well-protected during football games, practices, and other activities, talk to the experts at Island Orthodontics for recommendations about your child’s specific situation.



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