You might already know this, but the mouth is the gateway to the body. For that reason, it is essential that we give proper attention to our oral health. Athletes, who are typically in better health than the average person, also need to pay attention to their oral health. Athletes have a higher risk of damaging their teeth, because of the physical nature that comes with most sports. We asked Dr. Sood from Ironwood Dental what athletes could do to take better care of their mouth and teeth. This is what we learned.
Mouthguards Should Not be Optional
This is especially true for athletes who participate in contact sports, but mouthguards should be a part of every athlete’s standard gear.
Mouthguards provide a cushion between your teeth, preventing you from biting down too hard. Typically a mouthguard just covers the upper teeth. They can either be custom made, or you can buy one from a sports shop or pharmacy. Boil and bite mouthguards can be boiled to make the material softer. When you bite into it, it will shape to your teeth so it always gives you a strong fit.
Consider how many times you might be hit in the mouth or even simply fall during sports. If you have an impact to the face of any kind, you put both your jaw and your teeth at risk of being injured. A mouthguard can successfully prevent this.
Watch Your Intake
Athletes are normally health conscious. They know that in order for their bodies to be the tools that they would like them to be, they must take good care of them, which includes watching their diet. Yet, unfortunately, athletes are often supplied with sports drinks to help replenish electrolytes following a workout. The truth is, as much as they advertise that athletes need to replenish electrolytes, it is not as dire as it is made out to be. Water is a far better choice following a workout than any sports drink.
Sports drinks are loaded with sugar. When the natural bacteria in your mouth come into contact with the sugar, an acid is produced that weakens the outer shell of your teeth. After repeated exposure, your teeth are likely to develop cavities. Instead, make your own sports drink, smoothie, or protein shake to have following a hard workout. You will get better health and post workout benefits from it while also ensuring that you do not intake unnecessary sugar.
Don’t Forget Homecare
At any visit to the dentist, you are sure to have heard that you need to brush and floss twice a day. Adding your daily dental hygiene to your daily routines will make it easier to follow. Unhealthy teeth with active decay are more likely to be damaged during sports, because the integrity of the teeth has already been threatened.
Proper home hygiene means brushing for two minutes, two times a day and flossing at least once a day. This will remove the bacteria that have collected in your mouth throughout the day and night, putting your teeth back to a healthy state. You should also use fluoride toothpaste for extra protection.
Finally, you should also be paying a visit to your dentist at least twice a year. Having regular checkups can identify problems before they grow or prevent problems in the first place. A hygienist will be able to remove any stubborn plaque or tartar build up while also cleaning under your gums to stabilize the foundation of your teeth.
Taking care of your health should always include taking care of your mouth.