Protecting Your Teeth During Sports: A Handy Guide for Athletes

There are different reasons why most men, like you, are into sports. First, since males are naturally competitive, you might love taking part in activities that allow you to show off your physical prowess and tenacity.

You can also relax, unwind, and de-stress when you play your favorite sports.

Lastly, playing sports is an excellent way for men to stay fit and healthy and bond with your friends.

But regardless of your reason, your chosen sport, and the time you spend playing, if you are a professional or budding athlete, you have to focus on protecting your teeth whenever you are on the court or field.

Dental Injuries in Sports

A leading dentist in Fort Lauderdale says that dental injuries are the most frequent type of orofacial injuries that happen when people participate in sports.

According to one report, male athletes are more likely to be traumatized twice as often as females.

The most common types of tooth injury that you may experience when you play sports are:

1 – Cracked or fractured tooth

When you get hit in the mouth by a ball or another player’s elbow, or if you fall face down on the ground hard, you could accidentally crack a tooth.

Some tooth fractures are minor. They are often called “craze lines” or longitudinal cracks that appear in the tooth’s enamel after a dental injury.

This type of injury is usually not painful and won’t place you at high risk for tooth loss. However, your dentist still needs to repair the crack to restore the strength and integrity of your tooth.

Serious cases of fractures can start at the crown of the tooth and extend downward. This can cause intermittent toothaches, severe teeth sensitivity, and a sharp pain when biting or chewing.

If the trauma is severe, the fracture can lead to a loss of a portion of the tooth’s enamel which, in turn, can expose the inner dentin and pulp layers. The crack can also extend across the tooth and impact the cusp or its pointed tip.

In such instances, the affected tooth may have to be extracted. Another option would be to get root canal therapy to avoid a serious infection.

2 – Fractured tooth roots

A serious dental trauma can cause a fracture that starts at the roots. This usually occurs when the tooth is hit at the wrong angle.

The severity of this tooth injury depends on the location of the fracture along the root.

Most of the time, this type of fracture is invisible. You might only realize that you have this dental problem when an infection develops.

Root canal therapy is usually the recommended treatment for this particular dental injury. It will prevent infection and necrosis in the pulp that often leads to tooth loss.

3 – Dental avulsion

A hard blow to the mouth area can knock out a tooth; this is called avulsion. This type of trauma can cause damage to both the tooth and gum tissue.

Dental avulsion usually occurs during sporting activities involving physical contact, such as boxing, rugby, and martial arts.

If your tooth is knocked out, a dentist can replace or re-implant it. However, you have to handle and store it correctly. Avoid touching the root when handling it, keep it clean, and put it in a container with milk to prevent it from drying out.

You should then see a dentist as soon as possible to have the knocked-out tooth reinserted immediately.

4 – Tooth intrusion

Sometimes, a blow to the mouth can drive a tooth into the jawbone instead of knocking it out. This type of dental trauma is called an intrusion.

Although this injury does not often occur in adults, it can still happen in serious accidents.

Tooth intrusion can cause the tooth pulp to die or become damaged beyond repair. It can also lead to tooth resorption, a condition wherein the roots are shortened.

Another severe consequence of tooth intrusion is ankylosis, a condition wherein the root of the tooth becomes permanently fused to the jaw.

According to an orthodontist in Fort Lauderdale, this dental injury is one of the hardest to treat and requires different procedures.

Avoiding Sports-Related Dental Injuries

Wearing a mouth guard protects your teeth from fractures, chips, avulsion, and other dental injuries caused by impact to your face and mouth.

This dental equipment can also help protect your mouth from your teeth since it can prevent cracked lips and bitten tongues.

The most common type of mouth guard is the stock type, which you can wear without any modification. It is also highly affordable.

However, this type won’t be able to give you complete protection.

A custom-made mouth guard can give you the best level of tooth protection since it will be specially designed to fit precisely over your teeth.  

It is also more comfortable to wear and, as such, you will be able to breathe and talk with ease while playing.

Consider wearing a sturdy helmet with a face guard since this can also give you an additional layer of protection in various sports, such as football or hockey.

When buying a helmet, make sure it is designed for the sport you are playing. This means that wearing one made for cycling won’t offer sufficient protection if you engage in football.

Consequently, a football helmet will be too heavy to wear if you are cycling or skating.  

Additionally, when engaging in solo sports, you should learn how to protect your teeth, mouth and head. Even if there is no risk that you will be hit with a ball, bat, or another person’s elbow, there is always the possibility that you might fall and come into contact with the hard ground.

A good tip to remember if you fall forward is to turn your face to the side to reduce the risk of getting a dental trauma and injuring your face.

Also, always wear a helmet and mouth guard for extra protection when cycling, skating, or skiing.

Having good oral hygiene habits can also help you maintain a healthy set of teeth when you are active in sports. When your teeth and gums are in excellent condition, they will be strong and able to withstand force when you figure in a sporting accident.

Lastly, maintain a well-balanced diet to keep your teeth, gums, and body healthy. When you are in great shape, you will be a stronger, better athlete.

And if you are active in sports, remember to have your dentist’s number on speed dial so that you can get in touch with them immediately in case you injure your tooth.