Keep your teeth safe this summer: Avoid dental injuries when playing sports

30 May

summer-fun

Summer is the time for enjoying the great outdoors. However, some popular summer sports – such as swimming and softball – can expose your teeth to danger. Here are several seasonal activities that could lead to dental injuries and ways to keep your smile safe:

Swimming

Frequent swimmers may be at risk for developing yellowish-brown or dark brown stains on their teeth.

Those who swim more than six hours a week continually expose their teeth to chemically treated water. Pool water contains chemical additives, which give the water a higher pH than saliva. As a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on teeth. These hard, brown deposits, known as “swimmers’ calculus,” appear most frequently on the front teeth.

Swimmers’ calculus can normally be removed by a professional dental cleaning.download

Diving

Scuba diving, a sport enjoyed by more than 4 million people in the U.S., can lead to jaw joint pain, gum tissue problems or “tooth squeeze” – pain in the center of the tooth.

All of these symptoms add up to what’s called “diver’s mouth syndrome” (also called barodontalgia), a condition caused by the air pressure change involved in scuba diving and by divers biting too hard on their scuba air regulators. Tooth squeeze is caused by the change in air pressure, particularly if a diver has a big cavity, a temporary filling, gum disease, periodontal abscess or incomplete root canal therapy.

The best way to avoid these problems is to visit your dentist before scuba diving and make sure your dental health is tip-top. Ask your dentist’s advice about fitting the mouthpiece of an air regulator. Sometimes dentures can be inadvertently swallowed during a dive, so denture-wearers should consult with dentists before diving to discuss any potential problems.

imagesContact sports(soccer, softball, basketball, etc.)

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), soccer players are more likely than football players to sustain a dental-related injury – and these statistics do not include people playing pick-up games with friends.

Soccer is a sport where mouthguards and face masks are not mandatory, upping the odds for mouth and face injuries. Softball, basketball and pick-up games of touch football involve similar risks. In addition to causing injuries during contact, these sports also may be costly for people who have had extensive dental work, especially people who wear braces.

When participating in such sports, a mouthguard is your best ally.

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