Athletes work to keep their bodies as healthy as possible. From warmups to workouts to eating healthy, athletes try to keep in the best shape possible all of the time. Yet, one of the factors that is often forgotten when it comes to athlete health is oral health. The team at Elm Hill Dentistry gave us some tips on how athletes can take better care of their teeth and in turn take care of their oral health.

Why?

To begin with, let’s go over the importance of caring for your teeth. Tooth loss can cause a myriad of health issues for you. Not only will it make it hard to eat and eat well, but depending on the cause, you might develop other health problems as a result. Missing teeth within your mouth will cause the remaining teeth to shift and turn to fill in the gap. While there are some great replacement options for missing teeth out there, the best teeth are still the teeth that you have naturally. 

Caring for your teeth can save you a lot of trouble in the future.

Sports Drinks

The first consideration that athletes should think about is what they are drinking. Athletes normally consider their diet and intake of other items, but sports drinks are also in the mix a lot of the time. Unfortunately, sports drinks are typically loaded with sugar. As the natural bacteria within your mouth comes into contact with sugar, an acid is created that will weaken the important enamel that protects your teeth. 

Instead of sports drinks, water is the best option to replenish your body’s fluids. If you are still wanting something a little more quenching than water or something that might help replenish your electrolytes, you should consider making your own sports drink or at least buying the drinks that are already sugar-free.

Mouthguards

Mouthguards are incredibly important for the oral health of athletes. Mouthguards are placed between your upper and lower teeth to prevent you from biting down too hard. Normally, a mouthguard is fitted to the upper teeth. These can be made at a dental office or they can be purchased over-the-counter. If you do buy one off the shelves, make sure it is a boil-and-bite mouthguard that will mold to give you a snug fit around your teeth.

Regardless of the sport you play, mouthguards can save you from a lot of trouble. If you participate in contact sports, getting hit in the mouth is an all-too-common occurrence. This can lead to tooth damage or loss. In a sport where falling is a risk, a mouthguard can prevent you from knocking your teeth together. Ultimately, if your mouth or jaw is at risk of getting hit, it is best to wear a mouthguard. You will save yourself a lot of pain and trouble.

Homecare

We cannot leave out the importance of homecare and oral care. You should already be seeing your dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings and checkups. This can help catch any kind of issues that might be forming before they really form, preventing you from developing more serious issues. Your dentist should be taking yearly x-rays to confirm that there has been no cavities developing where you cannot see them.

At home, you should be brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day. It is important to brush your teeth for at least two minutes each time to ensure that you have really removed the harmful bacteria from all of your teeth. The floss will help remove any buildup between your teeth and gums. Healthy gums are essential for a healthy smile. Make sure that you are using a fluoride toothpaste as well.

When it comes down to it, athletes will never be as healthy as they should be if their oral health is not taken care of properly.