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Dental Fitness: Oral Health Tips for Athletes

Most athletes know to wear protective gear while the play on the field and most athletes know how to keep their bodies in shape. But many athletes neglect one important thing: their teeth. Your teeth are probably the last thing on your mind as you score a hat trick in the hockey arena or drain threes on the basketball court. But your dental health can and does affect your athletic performance. If you don’t care for your gums and teeth, you might develop gum disease or toothaches that will plague you both on and off the court.

Preventing Sports-Related Dental Injuries Dental injuries are the most prevalent orofacial injury athletes sustain during competition. Luckily, however, you can prevent most of these injuries. Keep these tips in mind as you suit up for a new athletic season. Ensure Your Teeth Are Healthy to Begin With Your chances of fracturing a tooth or knocking one out completely increase if you have damaged teeth. Visit your dentist prior to each athletic season to make sure you don’t have any diseased or weakened teeth. Your Edmonton dentist can detect and repair problem areas to help keep you safe on the field. Protect Your Mouth During – Wear Mouth Guards Your dentist and coach have probably told you countless times to wear a mouth guard. Although you might get sick of hearing this advice, your dentist and coach have your best interests in mind. Athletes are 60 times more likely sustain a dental injury when they don’t wear a mouth guard. A sports mouth guard protects your teeth from cracking, chipping, and breaking. It also reduces the impact of a blow to the jaw, which reduces your chances of suffering a concussion if something or someone hits you in the face. A professionally made, custom-fitted mouth guard costs much less than replanting a knocked out tooth. Don’t put your health at risk by choosing to forego a mouth guard. For more sports mouth guards in Edmonton, call Westmount Dental today. Stay Hydrated Not only is water important to keep you upright on the field, it’s essential if you want to keep your teeth and gums in good shape. Athletes often consume carbohydrate-rich diets, which could contribute to tooth erosion and decay. Intense physical strain can also lead to dehydration, which decreases saliva production. Saliva protects your teeth against bacteria and decay. Drink lots of water to rinse bacteria out of your mouth and prevent tooth decay. The average adult should consume eight glasses of water per day, but athletes should drink more if they’re more active. Say No to Sugary Sports Drinks Sports drinks replace the electrolytes your body burns during athletic events. But they also contain a lot of sugar, which means you’ve essentially bathed your teeth in bacteria each time you take a drink. According to The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, nearly one-third of all medical problems reported at the 2012 London Olympics involved dentistry. Additionally, almost one-fifth of athletes who competed suffered toothaches or bleeding gums that might have cost them a place on the medal stand. Sugary sports drinks contribute to these dental problems, so avoid them as much as possible. If you do consume sports drinks, choose a sugar-free option. Or rinse your mouth with water each time you take a drink. This helps wash enamel-eroding, decay-causing bacteria from your mouth. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet Both your body and teeth benefit from a balanced diet. Fruits, vegetables, and proteins provide the nutrients your body needs to perform on the court. They also provide the nutrients your teeth need to stay healthy and strong. Additionally, by consuming a healthy diet, you’ll naturally give your body the boost it needs. This means you won’t crave or depend on sports drinks as much as you once did. Treating Sports-Related Dental Injuries Even if you do take precautionary steps, you can’t always dodge a stray hockey puck. Here are three things you can do to alleviate dental pain and treat sports-related dental injuries. Re-Insert a Tooth If It Gets Knocked Out If you lose a tooth during an athletic event, rinse it in a saline solution and then re-insert it into the socket. Then, bite down on a piece of gauze to keep the tooth in place. As you re-insert the tooth, take care not to touch the tooth’s roots. Damage to the tooth’s roots will make it harder for your dentist to replant the tooth. Contact your dentist in Edmonton at Westmount Dental Centre right away if you lose a tooth. Most teeth die after about two hours of disconnection, so call for emergency dental services immediately. Drink More Water If Your Mouth Hurts After Competitions Many athletes complain of sore jaws and gums after a practice or competition. Dentists often attribute this to dry mouth, which can lead to cavities and abscesses. Try drinking more water during games and practices to alleviate dry mouth. If the pain persists, talk to your dentist about your mouth guard. Teeth shift over time, which might mean your mouth guard no longer fits correctly. Use these tips to defend your teeth against sports-related injuries. Talk to a dentist in Edmonton to learn more about protecting your teeth with mouth guards and other precautionary services.


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