Sports are a great way to keep kids active and physically fit, gain self-confidence, and teach them leadership skills. But while they’re giving it their all out on the field, are their teeth protected? Student athletes routinely wear helmets, pads, and other protective gear to keep their bodies safe from harm. But what about their teeth?
“According to a survey of American children’s oral health conducted on behalf of the Delta Dental Plan Association, one thing most student athletes won’t show up to the field with is a mouth guard. Just as helmets, shoulder pads, and kneepads are worn to protect against sports-related injuries, mouth guards are an equally important piece of protective gear.”
Numerous student athletes loose teeth each year as a result of contact sports. This is easily preventable by having them wear a mouth guard. Mouth guards can be made in dental offices or purchased at most athletic supply stores.
Sports drinks, such as Gatorade are a favorite among young athletes. While this sugary drink helps to replace electrolytes in the body, it is damaging to teeth. Instead of buying your child these drinks, encourage them to stay hydrated by drinking water instead.
“The combination of acidic components, sugars, and additives in sports drinks combine to erode the tooth’s surface, weakening the enamel that protects teeth from bacteria. The enamel erosion ultimately makes teeth more susceptible to bacteria and that can lead to hypersensitivity, staining, and tooth decay.”
Make sure your child sees his or her dentist regularly. It gives the child a chance to ask the dentist any questions about oral health, and also the dentist will be able to evaluate the child’s teeth cleaning habits and correct them as needed.
“Most children should see their dentist for a regular cleaning and check up every six months. Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma. It’s also preventable with proper care. Your dentist can identify early signs of erosion, pinpoint the causes, and advise you on how to prevent further damage and more serious problems from occurring.”