The football season may have ended but don’t worry, there is plenty more sport on the way to fill the gap. The annual all-star event that is Wimbledon is just around the corner and so too is a packed calendar of rugby, cricket and other popular sporting events. When you think about your average sports star, no doubt you imagine somebody at the peak of their physical condition and health. But here’s a twist for you – the average person is more likely to win a medal when it comes to healthy teeth! In fact, a sportsperson is almost twice as likely to experience dental problems in comparison. So why do athletes have problems with their teeth, and what can we learn from this?
Whilst it is less of a problem for the majority of individuals, receiving blows to the face and mouth is a particular issue for many athletes. This can also affect people who participate in a variety of sports and other activities. Then there is the risk of impacts from objects such as cricket balls or hockey pucks, which can be just as damaging as rugby tackles and collisions.
If you play a contact sport such as rugby, hockey or boxing or enjoy a physically challenging activity that may involve contact with the face, always ensure you are wearing adequate protection such as high-quality gum shields. In all cases, don’t be afraid to seek advice from your dentist about how best to protect your teeth and gums from the risk of damage. If you are part of a team, make sure that the medical staff have procedures in place for damaged teeth – and of course, get yourself to a dentist as soon as possible if you have any loose, chipped or otherwise damaged teeth following a match.
One reason that athletes in particular experience above-average levels of dental problems is that their intensive training programmes tend to make it hard to invest time in routine dental care appointments. Coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and other medical staff all form part of the athlete’s core support team, but dentists seem to be conspicuous by their absence.
If you are a sportsperson, taking the time to visit your dentist at least twice a year – or more frequently if recommended – can really help to identify issues at the earliest stage and address them before they develop into a serious problem.
When you picture the diet of an athlete, you probably see lots of greens, loads of fruit and plenty of lean meat – a perfect picture of a healthy, balanced diet. When it comes to mealtimes, most athletes do indeed tend to eat well. Unfortunately for the teeth, what they consume during training is often far from ideal. The high intake of carbohydrates coupled with consumption of sports drinks and energy supplements is believed to be a big contributor to tooth decay and other problems.
Keen sports people should consider how often they consume sports drinks and similar products. They should opt for low sugar or even sugar-free products wherever suitable. Also a stringent brushing regime is an absolute must for any sports person – even if you do ache by the time you get to the bathroom!
One top tip that can be very effective is to rinse the mouth with plain water each time you consume an energy boosting product – so take advantage of water whenever it’s offered – even if it’s just for your teeth.
We’ve already mentioned how important it is to use water to reduce acid levels in your mouth. Simply staying properly hydrated is just as important for your teeth as it is for your body as a whole.
The frequent dehydration that many sports people experience has now been identified as a major factor in their poor tooth conditions. Research indicates that dehydration reduces the protection offered by saliva. Saliva plays a key role in protection against tooth decay, dental erosion and gum disease.
Whatever you are doing, both work and play, be sure to stay sufficiently hydrated. And as in the previous piece of advice, make it sugar neutral wherever possible for the greatest benefits.
Your immune system plays an important role in helping you to maintain healthy teeth as well as a healthy body. Whether you are a professional athlete, a senior manager, a self-employed business person or a busy parent, the chances are you are constantly under pressure. Being stressed on a regular basis can quickly undermine your immune system. This can have a knock-on effect on your teeth and gums.
To protect your teeth, look for ways to relax, recharge and find a balance. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet that offers your body the vitamins and minerals it needs. For a sportsperson, this is an absolutely vital part of the regime.
At Perfect Profiles Dental Implant Clinics, there’s not much we can do to protect you from knees, elbows and flying objects – but you can rely on us to get your smile restored once the dust (and bruises) have settled.
We offer a full range of treatments to restore damaged or missing teeth from individual implants to a complete new set – and at prices that are as competitive as you are.
To find out more or book an appointment, call us on Luton 01582 518100 or Wolverhampton 01902 500823. Alternatively, click here to contact us online.