You may be surprised to learn that athletes can be at higher risk for oral health issues than non-athletes. Not only are they more likely to experience trauma during sporting events, but they can also be more susceptible to dry mouth, tooth decay, and more. If you’re an athlete, here are a few things you can do to protect your teeth!
1. Always wear your mouth guard.
If you’re participating in contact sports, it is critical that you wear your mouth guard—otherwise, you could be risking permanent damage to your teeth! Athletes who participate in sports like hockey, football, rugby, etc. are at greater risk of chipping or even losing teeth. If you’re wearing a mouth guard and still experience an injury to your teeth, gums, or jaw, make sure you visit your dentist immediately.
2. Stay hydrated.
When you’re running or playing sports, have you noticed that your mouth can become pretty dry? This is called dry mouth, and it occurs when you breathe through your mouth to the point that your saliva production is temporarily insufficient. This is quite common with athletes. However, this can unfortunately also make you more susceptible to tooth decay and gingivitis. Saliva plays a critical role in protecting your teeth and gums by neutralizing the acids in your mouth. By drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated, however, you can make up for this deficiency in saliva while you’re playing sports.
3. Avoid sports drinks, energy gels, and workout supplements that are high in sugar.
While these products may be geared specifically toward improving athletic performance, they do so at the expense of your oral health. Sports drinks, workout supplements, and energy gels are quite high in sugar. When you consume them, the bacteria on your teeth can feast on the sugars and release harmful acids onto your teeth. Over time, these acid attacks can cause erosion on your teeth. To stay hydrated and protect your teeth, try sticking with tap water. It contains fluoride that can fortify your dental enamel.
4. Avoid only eating starchy foods.
Are you constantly eating pasta dinners to boost your energy levels? If so, you could be doing damage to your teeth. Starch breaks down into simple sugars as you eat, which can lead to tooth decay just like your sports drinks! Therefore, try to limit your high-carb meals and always brush your teeth after you eat.
5. Schedule regular dentist appointments.
Taking care of your health is important for any athlete—this includes maintaining your oral health as well! The best way to take care of your teeth and gums is to visit your dentist every six months. They will perform a thorough professional cleaning and examine your mouth for any signs of damage or disease.
To schedule your next dentist appointment, call Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics today!