If you’re an athlete that participates in sports like hockey, then you likely understand the importance of maintaining your muscles and joints. However, you don’t want to forget to prioritize your oral health. According to recent studies, roughly 40% of all dental emergencies are a result of sports-related activities. Read on to learn three of the most common injuries athletes sustain and several prevention tactics to practice.
The Most Common Dental Injuries Athletes Experience
Dental emergencies can often be unsettling and unpredictable. That said, athletes are typically the most at-risk group, especially regarding the following tooth-related injuries:
Chipped or Cracked Teeth
One accidental elbow or rogue ball to the mouth can easily result in a chipped or cracked tooth. Without treatment, the injury can become worse, leading to oral discomfort and an increased risk of infection. Should you experience sharp or throbbing pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, or some other unusual symptom, don’t hesitate to immediately notify your dentist.
Taking a significant blow to the face can damage your teeth and their roots. However, the damage will typically start beneath your gum line and move up to the surface. For this reason, you’ll want to seek dental treatment the moment you notice indications like oral pain or inflammation, as the injury isn’t always visible from the start.
Did you know that about 5 million pearly whites are knocked out every year? If this ever happens to you, remember to stay calm, find your tooth, and schedule an emergency same-day appointment with your dentist right away. If possible, try inserting it back into its socket. If not, you can store it in a small container of saline solution or milk (not water) until you can visit the dental office.
6 Essential Preventive Measures for Athletes
While dental emergencies aren’t completely avoidable, it’s still a good idea for athletes to minimize their risks. Consider implementing the following tips:
- Wearing custom mouthguards while playing contact/non-contact sports.
- Practicing good oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash daily.
- Avoiding oral habits like chewing on ice, using teeth as tools, or smoking.
- Minimizing sugar intake, especially from sports drinks.
- If you’re a swimmer, protect your teeth from chlorine by keeping your mouth closed.
If you’re an athlete, it’s crucial to keep these few tips in mind to preserve your smile. Even if you do experience a dental injury, be sure to notify and schedule a visit with your emergency dentist as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Denis Redmond has been providing excellent dental services for well over four decades. He earned his dental doctorate from the University of Alberta and regularly pursues continuing education to refine his skills and techniques. He also offers a long list of high-quality treatments, including sports mouthguards, root canal therapy, dental crowns, and veneers. If you need to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call +1 780-484-5918.