3 strategies to step up your game

Dental Health for Athletes

Whether you shoot hoops or score goals, being mindful of your mouth is important for any athlete. Follow these tips to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

1. Sport a mouthguard

From skiing to soccer, mouthguards are a must for any active sport. Basketball players are five times more likely to sustain injuries to the mouth and face than football players, so it’s especially important to provide mouth protection on the hardwood. Make sure to wear your mouthguard during games and practices!

2. Avoid sports drinks

Reconsider grabbing a sports drink after a game or practice, because these beverages can do more harm than good. Not only are many loaded with sugar, they’re also highly acidic, which can weaken tooth enamel. Turn to water to hydrate without risking your teeth. For strenuous workouts when water isn’t enough, consider unsweetened coconut water: a low-sugar, high-electrolyte alternative packed with nutrients.

3. Combat dry mouth

Intensive exercise can leave athletes panting for breath, the perfect recipe for a dry mouth. Without a sufficient flow of saliva, food particles will remain in the mouth, creating a breeding ground for bacteria – particularly when paired with sugary sports drinks. Keep a water bottle handy to hydrate, and consider brushing after a game or practice.

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Updated May 2016

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