Dental Health For Athletes

Each year, five million teeth are knocked out of people's mouths, often during football and hockey games. Contact sports are extremely dangerous to teeth. If you or a family member play sports, you need to take preventative measures to keep your teeth where they belong. If the worst happens, you also have several options to replace those lost in the pursuit of athletic glory.


Dental guards should be worn religiously by athletes who chance suffering blows to the teeth. Even sports like ice skating and gymnastics pose a danger to your teeth and gums. The American Dental Association has found that not using a mouth guard raises your risk of suffering injury 1.6 to 1.9 times that of those wearing the guards. For high contact sports, the addition of helmets and face guards further lower your injury risk. 


If you do lose a tooth or teeth to a sporting injury, you have several choices to repair the damage. If the tooth is recovered, your dentist may be able to reinsert it. You should pick the tooth up by the chewing end, rinse it off, and stick it back into the gum if possible. If you cannot replace the tooth, keep it moist in milk or in your mouth until you reach the dentist.

If the tooth cannot be saved, a dental bridge works well when the missing tooth is surrounded by two healthy teeth. First the two healthy teeth are crowned and shaped so that they can accommodate the ceramic or metal bar that carries the false tooth. The healthy teeth support the weight of the device. This procedure generally lasts well and is low on maintenance. 

Dental implants are another popular choice. In this instance, an anchor is implanted into the bone, and the false tooth is attached to that piece. No work needs to be done on healthy teeth, and the procedure helps to keep the bone intact. Implants are more expensive than bridges, and the process requires minor surgery. Only your dentist can determine whether implants or dental bridges will work best for you and your injury. 

The best option is to keep your teeth, so when playing sports or engaging in a physical activity that exposes your teeth to danger, wear a mouth guard and other protective equipment if possible. If you do end up with a dental injury, see your dentist immediately. With today's technology, your beautiful smile can be restored.