Braces And Sports: Can I Still Play?

What do Bret Favre, Cristiano Ronaldo, Missy Franklin, Nate Robinson, Serena and Venus Williams all have in common? If you guessed they are all athletes you are right!  But did you know that they are all athletes who have been open about wearing braces and you can find updates of their smile transformations on their social media pages!

We Are Huge Sports Fans

Here at Ward + Campbell Orthodontics, we are huge sports fans. From Basketball, football and volleyball to tennis, soccer, yoga and everything in between! –  we enjoy an active lifestyle.

Studies have shown that 71% of youth ages 6-17 play sports. So, if you or your child play a sport, you may be wondering how braces might have an impact on your lifestyle.

The simple answer to this question is: it won’t have an impact at all, if you properly prepare.

The Statistics

The statistics on mouth injuries and sports are astonishing. Approximately 5 million teeth are cracked or chipped during participation in sports every year.

Sport injuries in children account for 32% of all oral injuries. Baseball has the highest incidence of injury in children ages 7-12, while basketball has the highest incident in children ages 13-17. Boys ages 15-18 tend to have the highest overall facial injuries.

Using Proper Protective Gear

Most of these sports-related oral injuries could be avoided with proper protective gear. Prior to the National Federation of State High Schools implementing mandatory mouthguards for football, hockey and lacrosse, an athlete had more than a 50% chance of sustaining a serious oral and facial injury. However, after mouthguards were mandated, the oral injury rate dropped below 1% !!

The area most likely to be damaged is the upper front teeth and upper lip.  When an athlete has braces, even more damage can occur to the soft tissues of the mouth (cheeks, gums, tongue and lips) due to the presence of brackets and wires.


All orthodontists recommend that athletes wear a mouthguard when playing sports – including sports where you can fall and injure yourself like mountain biking, martial arts, and rock climbing.

Mouthguards began being used by boxers in the early 1900’s. The mouthguard was created to protect the mouth and gums from cuts and bruises as well as protect the teeth from fractures and dislocations. There are many types of mouthguards that can be used to protect your teeth and gums from injury.

  • An orthodontic mouthguard is made from silicone and cushions your lips from bumping against your teeth. It also protects your brackets and softens the impact from any contact that could damage how the braces adhere to your teeth. Orthodontic mouthguards are typically larger than non-orthodontic mouthguards in order to have extra space for the braces to fit. In this case bigger is better!
  • Boil-and-bite mouthguards are another option. You can pick these up from any sporting goods store. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are pretty cool. It’s a quick and cost-effective way to get a “custom” mouthguard. However, while a boil-and-bite mouthguard might fit initially, once the teeth begin to move, this type of mouthguard will no longer fit. This is why an orthodontic mouthguard is still the best choice.
  • The third option is to get a custom mouthguard made in our office. We will take a digital impression of your teeth and make a mouthguard that is custom for your teeth. The downside to this is that as your teeth move, you will need to get a new mouthguard made multiple times while in treatment to account for the moving of teeth. However once you have completed your orthodontics treatment, a custom mouthguard is the way to go!

We have orthodontic mouthguards in our office and can provide you with one as a part of your treatment. Not yet in treatment and want to find out more? –  give our office a call to set up a complimentary consultation!  (208) 734-4314.

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Our Office Location

Ward + Campbell Orthodontics
1502 Locust St N, Ste 200
Twin Falls, ID 83301

(208) 734-4314