Athletes and Their Oral Health

Athletes and Their Oral HealthExercise can be one of the healthiest things you can do for your body, but it may also leave you more vulnerable to dental problems. Because a healthy smile and a healthy body are closely linked, you may need to take certain precautions to protect your teeth and gums whether you are a weekend warrior or a professional athlete.

According to a statement by the American Dental Association, athletes are at a higher risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay due to high-carbohydrate diets and energy drinks. Sugar does not cause cavities, but it feeds the oral bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay. By providing bacteria with their preferred fuel, a diet high in sugar or carbohydrates can speed the tooth decay process. Acidic energy drinks can erode enamel, increasing the risk of both sensitivity and cavities. Dental neglect is also common among athletes with nearly half of them going more than a year between dental visits. Routine dental checkups monitor for early changes that could indicate dental disease or other problems.

Dental trauma is another risk for athletes. Contact sports are especially risky, and athletes may be more likely to suffer a knocked-out or damaged tooth while engaged in play. Mouth guards are one of the best ways to avoid negative outcomes and keep teeth intact and healthy even during the roughest sports.

If you train heavily or are an amateur or competitive athlete, your smile may need a little extra TLC. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your appointment with Dr. Frame, our Santa Clara dentist.

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