Sports and Your Dental Health

Sports & Taking Care of Your Teeth

For many people, sports are an important part of their life. Sports offer many lessons, skills and other health benefits. They can also, however, be harmful to oral health. Especially if safety measures are not put in place. Here are a couple things to think about as the sports season gets started.

Sports Drinks

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated while partaking in any sort of physical activity. Especially during the hotter times of the year. Sports drinks, with their variety of delicious flavors and electrolytes to replenish lost nutrients are often wanted.

However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drinking sports drinks can lead to tooth decay and obesity. The main ingredients in sports drinks typically consist of citric acid and high fructose corn syrup. These are a damaging combination for dental health.

Citric acid affects the natural pH of the mouth, creating a concentration of acidity. This causes increased erosion of the enamel.

The high fructose corn syrup removes necessary minerals from the teeth. It also feeds the bacteria in the mouth responsible for producing plaque and ultimately, tooth decay. Not good!

According to the AAP, water is usually the best way to go to ensure you are receiving adequate hydration!

Information on Mouthguards

Mouthguards are used to shield your teeth from injuries. Especially during contact sports. In some collision sports like football, hockey, and boxing, mouthguards are often required. In other sports, they may not be required but are recommended.

A well fitted mouth guard can prevent:

  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Root damage
  • Tongue injuries
  • Jaw fractures
  • Lip and cheek damage
  • Fractured crowns or bridgework
  • Concussions

The ADA suggests the use of mouth guards for: 

  • Acrobatics
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Field hockey
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts
  • Racquetball
  • Roller-hockey
  • Rugby
  • Skateboarding
  • Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Surfing
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

Mouthguards come in an assortment of different types. Including custom-made mouthguards, boil and bite mouth guards, and stock mouth guards.

Staying educated when it comes to sports and your dental health can help you avoid tooth decay and more serious injuries from happening. If you have any questions about the sports you are participating in or the health of your teeth, be sure to ask your primary care dentist during your next appointment.

Healthy Resolutions – Quit Smoking

Many new years begin with new goals and we greatly encourage you making resolutions to quit smoking.

There are many risks that come with using tobacco; one includes cancer. Lung cancer isn’t the only type of cancer that smokers are likely to develop. The American Cancer Society indicates that 90 percent of those with cancer of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat use tobacco products. Increased cancer risk is not only experienced with cigarettes. Pipes and cigars pose a risk for cancer, even if you do not inhale.

Other Risks

In addition to cancer, smoking leads to things like build-up of tartar and plaque, discoloration of the teeth, loss of bone in the jaw, increased risk of leukoplakia (white patches in the mouth), bad breath, and an increased risk of gum disease.

You Can Quit Tobacco—We Can Help

If you’d like to quit smoking, vaping or using any kind of tobacco, we are here to help! Your PCD can help you quit tobacco for good. Talk to your dentist today.

Most people who smoke know that smoking increases their risk for heart attack and cancer and shortens their life span. What you may not know is that smoking is an addiction that can be treated effectively with medication and counseling. Your body will thank you almost immediately. Within 12 hours of quitting smoking, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood will return to normal. A year later, your risk of heart disease is cut in half. After five years, your risk of a stroke is the same as someone who never smoked.

Switching to e-cigarettes, or vape, is not an effective way to quit smoking. Vape can keep nicotine addiction going, and we’re still learning about the health effects of vaping. Vaping isn’t just breathing water vapor; it’s breathing an aerosol filled with tiny chemical particles. Some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. The best way to quit vape, cigarettes and all forms of tobacco is through counseling and tested, regulated medications like nicotine replacement therapy patches or gum.

Quitting Tobacco

Quitting tobacco use can reduce your risks for a host of oral health problems. In fact, 11 years after quitting, your risks of gum disease can be similar to those of a person who does not smoke.

If quitting cold turkey is not possible, try reducing the amount of tobacco you use to start. Your dentist can help you get started. With your OHP coverage you also have access to resources to help you. We encourage you to speak with your dental provider about quitting. It is a covered benefit and free. 

Resources to get you started:

Call your Primary Care Dentist

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)

Smoking Cessation

Help quitting tobacco is covered by the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). Family Dental Care, Inc. covers this help. We encourage you to speak with your dental provider about quitting. It is a covered benefit and free. 

Besides help your dental provider and offer there are statewide and national resources available. Family Dental Care, Inc. and our providers are here to support you in your quit decision!

Below you will find some additional tobacco quitting flyers.