Now that March Madness is upon us, many of our patients have basketball on the brain. Whether you play basketball or another sport, caring for your teeth and gums should be a priority. Dr. Ryan Hussong, a family dentist in Polk City, IA, explains the relationship between sports, physical activity, and your oral health.
Round 1: Sports Drinks vs. Water
Brightly colored sports drinks are a common sight on the sidelines, but are they really the best option for the rest of us? Not really, says Dr. Hussong, especially when you consider the damage that these drinks inflict on your teeth. Gatorade and other highly acidic sports drinks contain loads of sugar, some comparable to the amount of sugar found in sodas. Drinking them launches a two-pronged attack on your teeth. Bacteria living in your mouth thrive on sugar, mixing with it to form plaque. These bacteria excrete acids (yuck) that eat away at your tooth enamel. The drink itself is acidic, increasing the potential for damage.
Round 2: Sports vs. Teeth
Wear a mouthguard when participating in any sport, basketball included. Sports-related injuries account for 15-30% of all dental injuries, which include teeth that have been knocked out, chipped, or broken. The appliance protects your teeth and gums from trauma, and can be purchased at any sporting goods retailer. Avoid one-size-fits-all, or stock, mouthguards. Stock options provide minimal protection and do not fit comfortably. Boil and bite mouthguards are a better option, and custom-made mouthguards offer superior protection, comfort, and durability.
Round 3: Sports Injuries vs. Smiles
Take immediate action after sustaining a dental injury. If your tooth is knocked out, gently rinse it in water to remove debris. Do not attempt to remove bits of tissue. If you are unable to place the tooth back in its empty socket, store it in an airtight container filled with milk or salt water, and visit our office as quickly as possible.
Questions about preventive or emergency dentistry? To learn more about sports-related injuries and dental care, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact our Polk City, IA family dentist office at (515) 984-6001. We welcome patients living in Ankeny, Alleman, Ames, Grimes, Des Moines, and the surrounding communities.