Game On: Bridging the Gap Between Orthodontics and Sports

Balance orthodontics and sports.

Integrating orthodontics with kids’ sports.

Navigating the world of braces is a rite of passage for many children and their parents. As kids grow, their teeth often need a little help to line up correctly, and braces are usually the dental appliance that comes to the rescue. But what happens when your child actively participates in sports? Should you be worried about braces and sports? Absolutely not!

As a parent, it’s natural to have concerns about how braces might impact your child’s ability to enjoy their favorite athletic activities. However, integrating orthodontics with kids’ sports is possible and quite manageable with the right knowledge and tools. In fact, with the correct protective gear, like a mouth guard, your young athlete can maintain excellent orthodontic health while actively engaging in the sports they love.

Let’s dive in and tackle the intersection of braces and sports head-on!

Why wearing braces can impact sports safety.

Braces, while immensely beneficial for aligning teeth, introduce a new dynamic to a child’s sports safety. The metal wires and brackets have the potential to cut or bruise the inside of the mouth during an impact, turning a minor collision into a painful ordeal. Additionally, braces can be damaged in high-speed sports or those with the potential for a fall or blow to the face, leading to lengthy delays in orthodontic treatment.

Mouth guards are like the secret superheroes of orthodontic safety in sports. They act as a cushion, absorbing and dispersing the force from a blow, thereby minimizing the chances of injury. They offer a protective shield, preventing direct contact between braces and soft tissue, thus warding off cuts and bruises. More than that, they help protect the integrity of the braces, ensuring that they continue to do their job of aligning your child’s teeth effectively.

Parents should also know that sports considered no- or low-impact, such as baseball and soccer, may not consider mouth guards mandatory, but that the story changes for kids with braces. Accidents are unpredictable, and the best defense is a proactive approach, so we strongly recommend kids wear a mouth guard if there is any chance of collision or a heightened risk of taking a tumble.

Parents should prioritize communication and coordination with orthodontists and coaches.

Encouraging open lines of communication between parents, orthodontists, and coaches is an essential strategy for ensuring your child’s safety. It’s all about teamwork!

Parents, orthodontists, and coaches must work together, just like how your child collaborates with teammates during a game. This collaboration ensures your child can pursue their athletic dreams without compromising their orthodontic care. 

As a parent, it’s crucial to arm yourself with the right information about your child’s orthodontic treatment and share this knowledge with their sports coach. Inform the coaching staff about the braces, the need for a mouth guard, and any other recommendations from the orthodontist. This ensures they are aware and can also help remind your child to wear their mouth guard before stepping out onto the field or court.

Working together will benefit both your child’s orthodontic journey and sports experience!

5 tips for young athletes during orthodontics treatment.

Navigating the world of sports while wearing braces can be challenging for young athletes. However, with the right guidance and precautions, your child can continue excelling in their favorite sport while maintaining orthodontic care.

The following are five practical tips designed to help young athletes with braces adjust to their new normal and play sports with confidence and ease. 

1. Carry an orthodontic emergency kit, especially when traveling to a game.

An orthodontic emergency kit is an essential tool for young athletes with braces. This kit should be well-stocked with items that can address minor orthodontic issues on the go and provide immediate relief to your child.

Here is a list of must-have items for an orthodontic emergency kit:

  • Orthodontic wax
  • Small mirror
  • Tweezers
  • Interdental toothbrush
  • Non-prescription pain relievers
  • Backup mouth guard

Remember, the emergency kit is not a substitute for orthodontic care, but it can provide temporary relief and prevent minor issues from exacerbating before your child can see their orthodontist.

2. Stay hydrated with water mainly, and be mindful of sports drinks.

Staying hydrated is vital for overall health, and water plays a crucial role in promoting oral health. It aids in washing away food particles and diluted sugars that linger around the braces, helping to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Water also helps maintain the right level of saliva in the mouth, which is essential in combating harmful bacteria.

While sports drinks are a popular choice because of their taste, they should really only be consumed in moderation. The high sugar content in these drinks can lead to plaque buildup and increase the risk of cavities, especially for those with braces. 

3. Always wear your mouth guard, even if you’re just goofing around.

Wearing a mouth guard isn’t just for official games—it should be your child’s constant companion in every athletic activity.

Whether they are practicing their moves, participating in a friendly match with pals, or just having some fun on the field or court, wearing a mouth guard is important. The risk of oral injury can arise at any time, not just during high-stakes competitions. Unanticipated falls, collisions, and even playful shoves can lead to direct trauma to the mouth, potentially damaging the braces and causing serious injury.

4. Avoid sticky or hard foods when snacking or celebrating.

When it comes to taking care of your braces while playing sports, there’s more you can do besides just wearing a mouth guard. Another important aspect is watching what you eat and avoiding certain types of foods that can damage your braces. Sticky or hard foods are a big no-no when it comes to snacking or celebrating with your teammates.

Foods like popcorn, chewy candies, and even some types of chips can easily get stuck in your braces or cause damage to the wires and brackets. This not only affects the effectiveness of your treatment but also results in longer and more frequent visits to your orthodontist. So, next time you’re reaching for a snack, make sure it’s something that won’t harm your braces.

5. See us for regular orthodontic checkups and call for any concerns.

Continuing with your orthodontic journey, it is vital not to overlook the importance of regular orthodontic checkups at Must Love Kids, even amidst the busiest sports seasons

These checkups with your kid’s dentist in Vancouver, Washington, are not mere formalities, but crucial steps in ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of your orthodontic treatment. They allow for timely adjustments, repairs, and evaluations of your braces and overall oral health. Always follow your child’s dentist’s recommendation for how frequent their appointment should be.

Keep your child smiling on and off-season at Must Love Kids.

Preparing your athletic child for the rigors of sports while managing their orthodontic health can seem overwhelming. However, it becomes a manageable and rewarding journey with careful planning, a flexible approach, and the right support. The resilience and discipline learned through balancing braces and sports extend beyond the playing field and dental chair, planting seeds of perseverance and responsibility that bloom throughout your child’s life.

Remember that your favorite Vancouver pediatric dentist at Must Love Kids is here to help every step of the way. Schedule your next visit with us today, and let’s work together to keep your child’s smile bright, both on and off the sports season.