Sports dentistry is the branch of sports medicine that deals with the prevention and treatment of oral lesions and oral diseases associated with sports and exercise.
Why Athletes are at Higher Risk for Oral Injury
Amateur and young athletes are at higher risk of oral injuries because they often don’t receive adequate guidance or training. Although the prescription of personalized mouthguards has increased and its effectiveness has been demonstrated to prevent injuries, there is evidence currently showing that mouthguards may lose their effectiveness over time due to use and lack of periodic maintenance.
Injuries, fractures of facial bones, and concussions should receive special attention since sports injuries can be really serious. Tailor-made face shields or masks with scientifically studied cushioning materials can be used successfully and can reduce recovery time for injured athletes. More than over-the-counter fixed-size protectors, preference should be given to custom-made mouth and face protectors, manufactured under the supervision of a dentist.
Some dental conditions, such as cavities, can be caused by excessive training, a poor diet, or a lack of oral hygiene education. Swimmers are especially exposed to the risk of dental erosion due to the potential acidity of the aquatic environment.
Additionally, food supplements or sports drinks can cause oral health problems because of their high sugar content, or, in the absence of sugar, the acidic ingredients in sugar-free products. Acid causes tooth erosion.
All aspects of an athlete’s oral health should be addressed to ensure proper oral hygiene and to ensure that poor oral health doesn’t affect their performance.
Sports Dentistry: How Does Oral Health Influence Performance?
Oral hygiene influences sports performance in many ways.
Your mouth has lots of bacteria that accumulate on the surface of your teeth forming plaque. A lack of daily oral hygiene causes the accumulation of germs, which causes tooth decay, periodontal disease in the tissues surrounding the teeth, and pericoronitis (An inflammation around the tissue of the tooth known as your wisdom tooth.)
If these infections pass into your bloodstream, they can affect other organs such as your heart, stomach, liver, and skeletal muscle system. Your blood transports the bacteria to your muscles and joints, causing muscle fatigue and weakness. This is why sports dentistry is important to understand.
Recommendations for Athletes
- A proper diet is critical for athletes. A balanced and varied diet with proportionate intake of all food groups is essential for any athlete.
- Eat a balanced diet, which provides the necessary energy and avoid the consumption of products like bars, gels, isotonic drinks, juices, or milkshakes, because these are all very sugary.
- Drink water before, during, and after physical activity.
- Visit Danville Family Dentistry every six months for a thorough check-up and professional cleaning.
- Create a healthy dental routine that eliminates plaque from teeth, gums, and tongue. Brush and floss after each meal.
- Stress the importance of custom-made mouthguards and their proper use
- Continually practice preventive measures for oral health safety
For more information on sports dentistry and what we can do to ensure safe and healthy oral hygiene, call us today at 317-745-4400.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.