Playing Sports While Wearing Braces

Many of our Brady Orthodontics patients are involved in sports. Both school and community athletes are concerned that starting braces treatment will take them out of the game for a season or two. You may be like many of our patients and worry about playing sports with braces and how they’ll affect your performance or ability to play. 

You’re not alone. While this concern is common, it’s unfounded. You can continue most of your normal activities with braces on, including playing any sport. However, you’ll need to take a few extra precautions to keep your braces and mouth safe during your orthodontic treatment. We’re focused on protecting your teeth and gums from injury and your braces from damage. To learn more about how you can protect your braces and your mouth while playing sports, keep reading below. 

Wearing a mouthguard

There’s no better way to protect your teeth while playing sports than by wearing a mouthguard. They do an exceptional job of protecting your teeth without being complicated. You probably already know that you should wear a mouthguard while playing high contact sports like hockey and football, but did you know that we recommend wearing them when you play low-impact sports, too? Even a little bit of contact with your braces can irritate your mouth, causing small cuts or abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks. 

Needless to say, an orthodontic mouthguard is one of the best investments you can make if you plan to play sports during your treatment. Regular mouthguards do provide some protection, but they’re made of a more rigid material (called thermoplastic) that molds to your teeth when warmed and softened. This is dangerous for your brackets because they can get stuck in the molded mouthguard, leaving you with extra visits and extra treatment time. This rigid kind of mouthguard also can’t adjust well as your teeth move, so it may end up working against your braces, delaying the straightening process. 

On the other hand, orthodontic mouthguards use a high-grade silicone that keeps your lips from bumping against your teeth and braces. This helps protect the brackets from any impact-related damage, and can also prevent painful scenarios like your lip getting caught in your braces (yes, it’s exactly as bad as it sounds!) The slight bulkiness of orthodontic mouthguards is a small sacrifice for the increased safety. You don’t need to sacrifice comfort, though.

You’ll be able to make the best decision for your smile when you know the difference between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard. You’ll be able to make the best decision for you based on what you need it for. These over-the-counter options provide effective protection for you and will be able to meet all your basic needs. 

Over-the-counter mouthguards

Shock Doctor

Shock Doctor is one of the most well-known mouthguard brands, and that’s because they’re seen as one of the best on the market. They’re made from 100% medical grade silicone and designed to conform to the upper brackets. They’re comfortable and help reduce or even eliminate cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment and are affordably priced in both strapped and unstrapped styles.


If you play sports regularly, you may find that mouthguards with a lip guard have a big advantage. Lip guards keep you from accidentally biting yourself without hindering your ability to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, and while this makes them a little bulkier, they’re still an inexpensive, lightweight option. However, they have a more generalized design and aren’t made specifically for athletes in braces


Tapout mouthguards are a newer, more diverse style with a unique design that allows for additional airflow. The comfortable fit makes them easy to talk with, and they can re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they change. Because they’re meant to adjust based on your current bite, athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment can use them, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances.

Injuries from playing sports in braces

A direct hit to your mouth while in braces is cause for concern, even with a mouthguard. 

If this happens, get in touch with our office as soon as possible. We’re always available if you have an orthodontic emergency! Once we know what’s going on with you and your braces, Dr. Brady will be able to determine if we need to schedule you for an emergency appointment or not. Remember, the single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports is by always wearing a mouthguard! An orthodontic model is the best option, but even a basic mouthguard is better than nothing and can help prevent bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth.

Protect your perfect smile with Brady Orthodontics

Since mouthguards protect your teeth while they move into their new permanent positions, they’re an excellent investment in your oral health. They also protect the straightening process itself! We encourage all of our patients to wear some kind of mouthguard over not wearing one at all when participating in sports or other physical activities.

Whether you’re a current patient or have an appointment to get your braces on soon, we get that you may be worried about how they’ll affect your sports season. But there’s no reason to worry! Our team is always here to answer any questions you may have or to talk through any concerns you have. With mouthguard protection and our skilled staff behind you, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!