It’s no secret that sports can be dangerous. From concussions to broken bones, athletes put their bodies on the line every time they step onto the field. But one area that often gets overlooked is the teeth. Athletes are at risk for various dental injuries, from chipped teeth to knocked-out teeth.
This article will give you seven tips on protecting your teeth from sports injuries. But first, let’s discuss why teeth can be so vulnerable during sports.
Why Are Teeth at Risk During Sports?
There are a few reasons why teeth are more vulnerable during sports. First, the mouth is full of hard, brittle bones. These bones can easily be broken or chipped if they’re hit with enough force. Second, the teeth are surrounded by soft tissue, which can tear easily if it’s hit with something sharp or hard.
When it comes to injuries, teeth are especially vulnerable during contact sports like football and hockey. But even non-contact sports can put athletes at risk for chipped or broken teeth.
Tips for Protecting Your Teeth
Now that we know why teeth are at risk during sports let’s talk about ten effective ways you can protect them.
1. Wear a Mouth guard
Mouth guards are one of the best ways to protect your teeth from sports injuries. They fit over your teeth and form a barrier between your teeth and mouth and the ball, puck, or other objects you’re competing with. Mouth guards come in a few different varieties. The most common type is the custom-fit mouth guard, which is made by your dentist to fit your specific mouth.
2. Do a Mouth Check
Before you start playing any sport, it’s important to do a mouth check. This involves looking in the mirror and checking for anything that could potentially injure your teeth, like loose braces or a chipped tooth. If you find anything that could be a hazard, talk to your dentist about your options for fixing the problem.
3. Use a Helmet or Head Gear
If you’re playing contact sports like football or hockey, it’s important to make sure you wear a helmet and headgear at all times. These pieces of equipment can help protect your head and mouth from hard objects that could potentially knock out a tooth.
4. Keep Your Mouth Closed
This seems like common sense, but many athletes let their mouths open during play. When your mouth is open, you’re more likely to bite down on something, which could result in a chipped or broken tooth. Be sure to keep your mouth closed when you’re playing any sport.
5. Watch Out for Flying Objects
When you’re playing sports, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of the game. But remember that flying objects like balls, pucks, and racquets can easily chip or break your tooth. So, be sure to keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
6. Be Vigilant on the Field
If you’re playing a sport like baseball or a soccer, be sure to watch out for other players who might accidentally hit an object your way. Be ready to protect yourself at all times by keeping your arms up and your mouth closed.
7. Wear a Face Shield
Face shields are another excellent option for protecting your teeth during sports. They fit over your nose and mouth and can help deflect flying objects. Face shields are commonly used in hockey, lacrosse, and baseball.
8. Protect Orthodontic Appliances
If you have braces or other orthodontic appliances, be sure to take extra care when playing sports. These appliances can easily be broken or damaged if hit with enough force. So, be sure to wear a mouthguard and use other protective gear to keep your appliances safe.
What to Do if You Injure Your Tooth?
Even if you take all the necessary precautions, there’s always a chance you could injure your tooth during sports. Here are a few tips for what to do if this happens.
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the tooth to reduce swelling and pain.
- See your dentist as soon as possible, especially if there is tooth damage or bleeding.
- Your dentist might suggest tooth replacement if there is tooth damage.
- Be sure to follow up with your dentist to ensure your tooth is healing properly.
No matter what sport you play, it’s essential to protect your teeth from injury. The tips we shared in this article will help keep your smile healthy and intact while you enjoy playing your favorite sport. Remember always to wear a mouth guard when competing and be conscious of how you’re biting down on the ball or puck. If you do experience a tooth injury, see your dentist right away.