Taking part in sporting events offers a number of benefits for athletes, including improved physical fitness, increased confidence levels, and learning crucial teamwork and leadership skills. But athletes are at an increased risk of experiencing dental trauma and tooth decay, so it is vital to take steps to protect your oral health and wellness. Below, discover a few protective measures that all athletes should implement.
How Athletes Can Protect Their Teeth
1. Avoid Sports Drinks
Sports drinks might seem like a fast and efficient way to refresh and rehydrate during practice and during breaks in the game. But many sports drinks are full of sugar, although not as much as sodas and energy drinks. Still, consuming them as part of your normal practice or game routine can increase your risk of tooth damage. The sugars attach to the teeth and release acids that cause corrosion and decay. For best results, make water your sports drink of choice.
2. Wear a Mouthguard
A mouthguard should be an essential part of your uniform, as important as a helmet, padding, and proper footwear. A dentist or endodontist will take molds of your mouth and design a custom-made guard that fits securely and comfortably over your teeth. This guard provides a solid barrier and supportive cushion to minimize the effects of forceful movements and impacts that can cause dental trauma.
3. Don't Carbohydrate Load
Some athletes prefer to carbohydrate load prior to a game or race. This entails consuming large amounts of carb-rich foods to increase the body's energy reserves and maintain endurance and performance. But carbohydrate loading is really only necessary for high-endurance activities that last more than 90 sustained minutes, like marathons.
Otherwise, eating excessive carbs just presents potential problems for your teeth, in much the same way as sugary sports drinks do. Carbohydrates break down into simple sugars that stick to the teeth and trigger corrosion. For most sporting events, aim to consume a well-balanced meal—one with protein, vegetables, and healthy whole grains—three to four hours prior to hitting the field.
If you are an athlete who has experienced dental trauma, the team at Grassi & Grassi, P.C. can conduct X-rays, assess the damage, and provide treatment. Since 1973, they have been serving patients throughout the Rochester, NY, area. They provide a variety of endodontic treatments, including root canal therapy, cracked teeth repair, and dental trauma solutions. Call (585) 424-1111 to schedule an appointment or visit them online to browse their services.