Athletes and Dental Care: The Special Concerns

Athletes need to protect more than their body; they need to protect their teeth too. While a mouth guard might be a standard piece of equipment for football and hockey players, there is another large concern that every athlete needs to focus on in order to preserve his oral health.

A Higher Risk for Cavities

Take a look at a typical athlete's diet, especially those that carb load before a big event. That pasta and bread that that you fill up on is very hard on your teeth. Even though it is not straight sugar, many carbohydrates turn into sugar right in the mouth, which means you are letting sugar sit on your teeth even when you do not realize it. This puts you at greater risk for tooth decay. In addition to the food you eat are the drinks that get consumed. Do you drink Gatorade or other sugary drinks that are supposed to refuel you while working out? The sugar content in these drinks can be very high, and because it is in the form of a liquid, you are washing the sugar over your entire mouth, putting your teeth at risk for erosion and/or tooth decay.

Preventing Cavities for Athletes

This does not mean if you are an athlete that you will get cavities. It is a gentle reminder to carefully watch your diet and to brush your teeth often. You should also try to concentrate on consuming water rather than sports drinks or juice. If you do need Gatorade or another sport drink in order to refuel, follow it with plenty of water and brush your teeth as soon as possible in order to eliminate as much sugar as possible from your teeth.

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