How Young Athletes Can Protect Their Teeth
Whenever I see a photo of a sports team or group of young athletes, I think about their teeth. We expect athletes to be healthy – careful about their diet and workout routines. That health and fitness regimen should include taking care of teeth and mouth every day. No matter what sport or level, athletes are at risk for injuries that often require dental treatments and surgeries. Here’s how to protect your healthy smile.
Shin Guards? Check Helmet? Check. Mouthguard? Check! You protect your legs and head during contact sports, so why not add protection for your teeth and jaw to your equipment list. Mouthguards usually cover your upper teeth and protect your teeth, lips, tongue, face and jaw against injuries, so they should be part of your uniform in any sport you play.
It doesn’t take long to become comfortable wearing a mouthguard. The type of mouthguard you choose is less important than a proper fit. The exception to this is for young athletes who wear braces and need a special mouthguard for braces. Many sports – hockey for example – require youth players to wear mouthguards.
Sideline Sugary Sports Drinks
When you are thirsty, drink water instead of a sports drink. The problem with sports drinks, even those with minimal amounts of sugar, is their acidity. Some of the damage from sports drinks comes from the manner in which they are consumed. Athletes often take frequent drinks during workouts or games, exposing their teeth to the levels of acidity and sugar over an extended period. It would be better if the drinks were just gulped in one sitting.
Practice Daily for Oral Health
You practice mastering the skills required for any sport. The daily practice of good dental habits like brushing and flossing keeps your teeth healthy. Did you know that an unhealthy tooth is more likely to suffer damage in a sports injury? A tooth with decay and fillings is not a strong as a healthy tooth.
You can keep your smile healthy and strong by brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once a day. Make sure to see your dentist twice a year!
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. He is committed to helping all his patients maintain a healthy smile. To find out more schedule an appointment at your convenience.