Regardless of age or sport, being an athlete carries certain risks for your teeth. Athletes need to take additional precautions to protect their teeth from damage and other complications. At Manhattan Dental: Donald Burger, DDS, FAGD, Dr. Burger has provided dental care to athletes in New York, NY, for more than 25 years. As an experienced dentist, his services include providing care, tips, and resources to help athletes maintain a healthy smile.
3 Top Dental Tips For Athletes
1. Always Wear a Mouthguard
Many sports require athletes—especially young ones—to wear a mouth guard. Even if it’s not a requirement or the sport you play is low-contact, it’s still a good idea. Mouthguards fit over the upper teeth and absorb the shock from any kind of blow to the face or mouth. This prevents your teeth from breaking or getting knocked out. It also protects your lips, cheeks, and tongue from being punctured by your teeth when these hits occur. While pre-made mouthguards are an option, it’s better to have one custom-made by your dentist. This ensures the mouthguard fits comfortably, meaning you’re more likely to wear it regularly.
2. Ditch the “Sports” Drinks
We’ve been conditioned to think sports drinks are essential to replace electrolytes and other nutrients during and after athletic events. The reality is these drinks are loaded with sugar, which is not only bad for your overall health, but is also terrible for your teeth. The sugar mixes with the existing bacteria in your mouth to attack your tooth enamel, a hard protective barrier on your teeth. Over time, the enamel softens and erodes away, allowing the bacteria into the inner layers of your teeth. From there, they can cause cavities. Once you have a cavity, the only way to repair the tooth is either a dental filling or crown.
3. Be Diligent With Your Dental Care
Your dental care habits both on the field and at home will determine whether you maintain a healthy smile or not. Wearing a mouthguard on the field and swapping the sports drinks for water will help, but you need to brush and floss daily as well. Doing so will remove the bacteria that cause cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Additionally, make sure you’re seeing your dentist for regular teeth cleanings, as they can remove plaque and tartar your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.
Whether you have a mouthguard but never wear it because it’s uncomfortable or your sport requires you to wear one, visit Dr. Burger, a leading dentist in Manhattan for a custom-made solution. You can schedule an appointment online or call their office at (212) 873-5400.