Playing sports is a great way for kids, teens and young adults to stay fit while having fun. It teaches them camaraderie, teamwork, and a host of other qualities and skills. However, given the physical nature of most sports, engaging in athletic activities also increases the participants’ chances of damaging their teeth.
This is especially true for athletes who constantly need to train for and participate in competitions. Athletes are susceptible to chipping, breaking and losing their teeth.
For this reason, dentists get a lot of patients who are athletes or actively play sports.
Here, the best dentists in Dubai have provided a number of tips to help physically active kids and teens protect their teeth and address potential dental issues while remaining active players of their chosen sports.
1. Remember to wear a mouth guard
Participating in sports can increase the chances of getting injured in the mouth and jaw areas. An athlete’s teeth could get chipped, broken or knocked out. Even worse, your child could suffer from lacerated lips or cheeks, or even a concussion while playing. Wearing mouth guards is your child’s first line of defense against missing or broken teeth and other related injuries.
Also referred to as mouth protectors, these oral devices can help soften a blow to the face. Mouth guards are often required in games that can get rough or physical, including basketball, football, hockey, boxing, wrestling and more.
Consult your trusted local dentist for kids to determine whether your child needs to wear a mouth guard for their sport.
2. Avoid consuming sports drinks
Sports drinks are popular, even beyond the realm of sports. They come in a wide range of flavors and are consumed by people of all ages.
These types of colorful drinks are advertised as great thirst quenchers for athletes. However, their effect on your mouth and body are enough to make you think twice before giving a bottle to your child.
For one, sports drinks contain lots of sugar, even exceeding the amount of sugar present in sodas. Consuming drinks rich in fructose and sugars is bad for the teeth. All that sugar can lead to the buildup of cavities, damaging your teeth in the process.
Sports drinks are also rich in sodium and are highly acidic. The acid can erode the enamel on your teeth while the sodium dehydrates your body.
Instead of sports drinks, encourage your little athlete to drink lots of water instead. Water washes away food and substances that causes calories. Whenever possible, drink water containing fluoride as it is effective in cleaning and strengthening your teeth in the process.
3. Keep your knocked-out tooth
No need to worry if your child’s tooth gets knocked out while playing sports. There’s still a good chance that your dentist can put it back. However, you need to make sure that the tooth is still in good condition.
Hold the knocked-out tooth by the crown and remove any debris. Rinse the tooth with water or milk. Do not wipe off the moisture as fabrics can potentially damage the tooth root.
Keep the tooth moist by dropping it into a small container filled with milk. When milk is not available, use water, or have your child spit into a cup and put the tooth inside.
If the tooth is clean and no liquids are available, try to put the tooth back into the socket. Rush to the nearest dentist to have the tooth reattached.
4. Visit the dentist regularly
Pay regular visits to the dentist with your child. Twice a year is the minimum recommended frequency, although athletes may need to see their dentist more. This is especially true for athletes who suffer from “swimmers’ calculus.”
“Swimmers’ calculus” is a common condition among swimmers who spend several hours in a treated pool. Swimmers who have this condition notice brown spots on their teeth. Studies indicate that this may be a reaction between the teeth and the chemicals inside the pool.
For swimmers who have this condition, one way to treat it is to visit the dentist more often. Swimmers are advised to see their dentist four times a year, if possible.
Playing sports, while fun and rewarding, can also be rough. By following these tips, your kids can keep their teeth healthy and strong while participating in sporting events.
AUTHOR BIO:- Dr. Zul Paliwalla is the General and Cosmetic British Dentist at NOA Dental Clinic, specializing in smile-related concerns. With over 33 years of experience in the UK, Dr. Zul has successfully worked on and improved many internationally recognized smiles. He is a certified Invisalign® GOLD provider as well and has brought his elite expertise to Dubai not only to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, but also to offer his brand of personalized smile makeovers.