Being from a family of healthy wellbeing and active lifestyle, Lisa couldn’t keep away from sports even after she had her braces on (did you know that Lisa plays squash? She’s really good!).
Worried for her dental safety, Romeo got into a little argument with his sister.
“No, Romeo. I’m not going for a boxing match. I’m just playing squash - why do I need a mouthguard?”
Lisa was obviously unhappy at Romeo’s advice for her to wear her mouthguard during sports to protect her braces.
Did you know that if you wear braces, you may be open to risks of braces injuries?
Not only sports, but there are several habits that you should always avoid to protect your braces and yourself.
So do take extra caution of these top 5 habits that may cause you injuries while wearing dental braces once you get a fix on your teeth!
1. Using your teeth for the wrong purpose
Teeth is supposed to be used for one purpose only - biting of food in eating. So don’t bite your nails (or anything hard for that matter)!
Damages to the brackets and archwires can cause cuts and scratches to our gums, tongue and inner cheek. As our teeth are bound tightly by the braces, forced impact can also dislocate our teeth - ouch!
Do you use your mouth to open things up?
Be it sweet wrappers, junk food packaging, can lids, or bottle caps, forcing hard objects open using your teeth can break the brackets or move the archwires away from their proper positions.
This could also apply pressure on the opposite direction to the intended target of the braces, pushing your teeth back into their original positions.
Even if you don’t wear braces, using your teeth to bite non-food items like these can be extremely harmful for your enamel and tooth roots.
2. Eating cold or hard food
There are two braces taboos here:
(i) Ice cold food (like hard ice cream, ice cubes) cause high sensitivity reaction from our teeth and gums, which isn’t what we would want our teeth to experience while having braces on.
During our orthodontic treatment period (i.e. the period of time we have braces on), our teeth are in a fragile state.
Prolonged exposure to cold food can cause increased teeth and gum sensitivity even after the removal of braces, or even cold sores and gum rashes.
So although a nice cold drink may be the best for hot weathers here in Malaysia, keep off the ice, Lisa!
(ii) Hard food (especially ice, again, and other hard food like nuts and shells) can cause painful injuries in our attempts to bite them while we eat.
When we have our braces on, our teeth are in constant states of moving (albeit very slowly) from its original position to our desired position. Biting hard foods places unwanted forces in all directions on our teeth.
Excessive attempts on chewing hard foods can also break braces brackets or archwires, and injure our gums, tongue, and inner cheek.
This simple habit could really cause a bloody scene in our mouth, so keep a close eye on what’s in your meals!
I have a complete article here on 10 Foods You Should Avoid While Wearing Braces, too!
3. Eating foods with high sugar/acidic food/sticky food
If you’re a fan of sweet foods like candy, acidic sours like lemons or stickies like chewing gum or popcorn, you’d want to place these cravings onto the sacrificial altar for at least one or two years during your braces treatment period.
Foods with high sugar leave behind traces of sugars around our oral cavity, promoting bacteria growth and reproduction.
These bacteria are notorious causes of havoc in our mouths, from cavities to tooth discolouration to bad breaths.
Acidic foods can corrode the enamel (the outer layer of our teeth), and these acids also deposit around the brackets on the surface of our teeth.
In some cases, this can cause the appearance of discoloured spots on our teeth, not noticeable until we remove our braces and realise that it is too late.
Sticky foods are the number one no-no once you have your braces on. Not only are foods stuck onto your braces difficult to clean off, overly sticky food can dislocate your brackets and archwires as you try to remove them!
Dislocated wires can cut your inner cheeks and gums like a broken spring going haywire - keep those stickies off!
4. Playing sports without proper protective gears
“Imagine getting an elbow to your braces..."
“Ouch, don’t say that, that’s scary!”
What happens when a thin wire hits a hard object head-on? It bends and breaks. Therefore, playing sports with dental braces on can be very dangerous.
Especially in contact sports like football, basketball, and rugby, having an arm swung at you or a bump into another player is not something unlikely to happen.
Damages to the braces due to impacts like these can cause cuts or scratches on the inner side of our lips, cheeks, and tongue.
Usually, patients who are under orthodontic treatments like braces, aligners, or retainers are recommended to wear mouthguards while doing sports.
Although these little mouth protection tools may make you look like a boxing competitor of Rocky’s, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Wearing mouthguards during sports can prevent damage to our teeth and avoid mouth injuries - even if you don’t wear braces!
It is best to get a mouth guard customized for your mouth and teeth shape from a dental clinic, find one near you here if you're interested.
5. Overlooking oral hygiene
Oral hygiene is top of the list in general oral healthcare, even more so for us who wear braces.
With braces or aligners attached to our teeth, there is much more space for the buildup of plaque and bacteria deposition.
These are the spaces around the brackets, between the archwires and the surface of teeth that are hard to reach under the brackets.
Pieces of food also have a higher tendency to get stuck on our teeth with braces on.
Therefore, we have to brush more thoroughly or use micro-tip toothbrushes to reach and clean every gap and corners of our teeth.
Rinsing with mouthwash also becomes more important during the period we have our braces on, as this helps in a whole-round cleansing of our oral cavity, including the areas blocked out of reach by the braces.
Without proper oral hygiene practices, we are prone to be exposed to tooth cavities and gum diseases, which may affect the position of the braces.
Braces are connected tightly around our teeth, so if we have cavities or gum diseases which changes the shapes of our teeth, our braces may go out of shape and injure our mouths from the inside.
It’s just that simple - brush, floss, rinse!
“Alright, alright. Better safe than sorry indeed.”
“I’m gonna take care of my teeth so that I’ll always be your hot mum!” said Lisa as she kissed Lemon before she left.
Did you know that according to eye movement studies, when looking at a new face, we pay most attention to the person’s eyes and mouth. We use these images to make attributions about a person’s characteristics, personality, and attractiveness!
While this may explain why Lisa was so reluctant to wear a mouthguard at first, health and safety always come first before appearance!
So make sure you take care of your oral health to be able to smile gracefully all the time! If you haven't done so, find a dental clinic near you here today to start!