Most kids and adults with braces are pretty diligent about wearing a mouthguard when they play sports. It's not a hard sell – getting hit in the mouth is painful enough without brackets and wires getting in the way. Severely damaging your braces could also significantly lengthen your treatment time and cost you more money.
So we've established that wearing a mouthguard is a good idea, but just putting it into your mouth during a game isn't where the work ends. It's also equally important to clean and maintain these devices to prevent infection and other oral health issues.
"These concerns are similar to using an infected toothbrush repeatedly or using silverware that has not been cleaned properly," said Dr. Bruce Burton, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, in a statement. "Although a mouthguard is recommended to prevent permanent damage to the mouth and teeth, we know it also has the potential to be a reservoir for bacteria that can cause gum infections or the bacteria that help promote tooth decay."
So what should you do to keep your mouthguard clean? Dr. Burton offered the following tips:
- Don't share a device with anyone else
- Brush your teeth before wearing a mouthguard
- Clean and dry the device before storing it
- Keep a backup mouthgard nearby so you don't have to continue wearing a damaged one.
If you're interested in learning more about how to protect your teeth and keep them clean while you have orthodontic braces, contact an orthodontist in New York City today. The staff at Upper Eastside Orthodontists would be happy to meet with you!