As the summer season gets underway, you should consider some strategies to protect your teeth from injuries. Sports activities like baseball, soccer and even swimming hold the potential for injury to the face, mouth and teeth. Here are some ways to minimize the possibility of injury, courtesy of Cardinal Dental Group.
Even when you aren’t playing a contact sport, there is always the risk of injury. A mouth guard is a good way to help protect your teeth. Mouth guards are available from drug stores, but if you participate in high contact sports like basketball, baseball, and football, it would be best to ask your dentist about a custom mouth guard. The generic mouth guards are inexpensive, they don’t always fit very well and can be uncomfortable. Thinking long term and about preserving the investment in your smile, a custom mouth guard will help prevent mouth injury. And it’s less expensive than repairing a damaged smile or lost tooth!
Certain sports like football and hockey carry a considerable risk of a facial hit – for these sports a helmet is not only required in most cases, but it must also have a facial guard. As with a mouth guard, your helmet should fit properly. You should also choose the type of helmet that’s made for your particular sport – you’ll note that football helmets are very differently designed than a catcher’s mask.
Diving injuries take a toll on people’s face and teeth, and much more important, can cause spinal injuries. Never dive into water without first checking the depth; once you start the dive you are committed and can’t change course if there are rocks or the water is too shallow. And don’t forget, it’s not just about water – you can incur a similar accident on a trampoline or practicing dry-land diving.
Your risk of breaking a tooth while swimming is minimal to non-existent, but odds are you never give a thought to what the water in a pool can do to your teeth. If the pH in your pool is too low, the acidic water can increase the risk of enamel erosion. It’s best to keep your mouth closed when you swim to help protect your teeth.
Teeth as Tools
Although it seems like a little thing, using your teeth as tools can lead to a surprising amount of damage. Your teeth are perfectly designed to bite off food and chew it, but they don’t work well as bottle openers. Using your mouth as a third hand to hold nails, or as nutcrackers or scissors causes damage. Chewing on pencils can be damaging to the teeth and gums. Bottom line: use the correct tool for the task, not your teeth.
Your dentist is a great resource when you’re looking for ways to protect your teeth. Don’t hesitate to ask about a custom mouth guard or get advice about helmets. Play sports, but keep your teeth in good condition, too.