It’s once again that time of year when we schedule our annual spring cleaning, which is usually pleasant, as long as they don’t bounce all over the place. Dad jokes aside, spring does arrive with its own dental affairs, namely, sport-related concerns. As we venture into the athletic arena this spring, here are a few tips to keep your dental health score up for the year.
Staying hydrated is crucial when engaging in outdoor activities or strenuous activities. However, I frequently observe patients opting for sport or energy drinks for hydration. The constant exposure of your teeth to sugary or acidic drinks can result in the manifestation of decay. Often, this decay is noted in between teeth that are not initially detected without the use of dental radiographs. Typically, by the time actual cavitation is observed, it may require extensive dental work. The key is to reduce the amount of exposure to sugar or acid to keep the bacteria in your mouth at bay. Water is by far the best alternative, and some studies show that sports drinks are not at all beneficial for children. When drinking sports beverages, follow up by rinsing with water, or even better, brushing your teeth.
Of course, there is a wide variety of sporting activities that can result in dental trauma. In my experience, I have seen everything from basketball to golf and even bicycle accidents, but by far, the most common sports injury I witness is baseball. It appears to not be common to wear mouthguards in baseball, and with that lacking routine comes injury. Over-the-counter guards or boil and bite guards can be sufficient, but to confirm proper fit and protection, consider a custom fit guard from your dentist.
Of course, all sports, even running, can find advantages to wearing a guard, even if to keep teeth from clenching or grinding. Weight or powerlifters often show signs of worn dentition from long-term clenching. It may even help just to be aware of where your teeth are during exercise. It is best to keep them apart outside of speaking or eating.
Hopefully, this advice will help you “spring” into action and take preventative approaches to your dental health, and as always, regular dental checkups help, too. Happy Smiling!
Dr. Matt Artho is owner and dentist at Country Lakes Family Dental in Bartonville and nine-time winner of Best of Denton County