If you take part in contact sports, it's always a good idea to protect your teeth and gums by wearing a sports mouth guard. However, the need for protection becomes even more pressing if you also happen to wear braces.

Luckily, mouth guards are available that fit around braces, providing enough room between your teeth without impeding your ability to breath.

So, why should you wear one?

Braces can be broken

Braces will seldom break if you take proper care of them. Unfortunately, they just aren't designed to deal with significant force. If someone accidentally elbows you in the face or a ball hits your mouth, it could easily lead to a part of the brace breaking. If a smaller piece brakes away, it could cut your gums, cheeks or tongue, and it will also form a choking hazard. Even if just a support snaps, the sharp end could cause lacerations.

Braces can be easily bent

Braces can do plenty of damage, even if they do not actually break. Without a mouth guard offering protection, the metal supports can be bent back against your teeth. In extreme cases, this can result in structural damage to a tooth. However, you might not even notice that the braces have been bent at all, and this can be even more problematic. If the braces were somehow knocked out of alignment, it probably means that they will no longer be correcting the orientation of your teeth, which is the whole reason braces are worn in the first place. In fact, bent braces can see your teeth redirected in unhealthy ways.

Repairing braces can be expensive

Even if the teeth do not suffer any damage and the braces are fixed as soon as possible to avoid any alignment issues, an unprotected knock could still end up costing you. As any parent of a child with braces will understand, they can be very expensive. Even repair work can cost a lot of money, but you might even face a complete replacement. Factoring in the cost of refitting the braces shows just how expensive damage can become. Even worse, you might find that costs aren't covered by dental insurance if damage occurred during contact sports when a proper mouth guard wasn't worn.

Ultimately, it just makes sense to use a mouth guard if you wear braces and take part in contact sports, so talk to your dentist as soon as possible for some recommendations.