Its Spring and that means its youth baseball season. Athletes need to take care of their teeth both on and off the field. Dr. Nawiesniak has seen firsthand what can happen when a player gets hit in the mouth with a ball. “Nothing ruins a season faster than a mouth injury that lands you in the dentist chair and keeps you off the field.
No matter what sport or skill level, Dr. Nawiesniak says, “Most athletes are careful about what they eat and their workout routine. Part of that routine should include taking care of your mouth and teeth every single day.
Here, Dr. Nawiesniak shares his playbook for a healthy mouth.
Make a Mouthguard Part of Your Uniform
Helmet? Check. Knee pads? Check. Mouthguard? Check! Mouthguards usually cover your upper teeth and protect your teeth, lips, tongue, face and jaw against injuries, so they need to be part of your uniform in any sport you play.
Wearing a mouthguard regularly becomes second nature. It does not matter what type of mouthguard you choose, just make sure it fits properly. Athletes may be resistant to the mouth guard at first but after getting used to them they feel a bit naked without them. Starting children off with a mouthguard from the beginning develops the right habits. In fact, many sports won’t let you play without one. Most youth organizations requires all players to wear a mouthguard. “The referees have to be able to see it, and it has to be colored,” he says. “I think that’s a great idea.”
Sideline Sugary Sports Drinks
If you need to quench your thirst, reach for water instead of a sports drink. “People are trying to rehydrate, but there may be a lot of sugar in those drinks,” Dr. Nawiesniak says.
Dr. Nawiesniak says he doesn’t often see professional athletes drinking sports drinks. “Professional athletes have well managed diets that are low in sugar,” he says. “They tend to drink more high-protein shakes than sugary sports drinks and a lot of water.”
Brush Those Teeth, Floss, Rinse, Repeat
Practice makes perfect when you’re mastering the skills of any sport, so do the same with your daily dental habits. An unhealthy tooth is more likely to be damaged if a sports injury happens. A tooth that has had a lot of decay and a lot of fillings is nowhere near as strong as a tooth that has not had decay and has not had a lot of fillings. Dr Nawiesniak recommends an ADA-Accepted mouthwash.
Excerpts taken from ADA Mouth Healthy