Summer is here! Which means it’s time to enjoy all your favorite outdoor sports and activities in Central Oregon. From biking and paddle boarding to softball leagues and summer camps, sports can be a great way to have fun and stay active. However, some popular sports can expose your teeth to danger. Here are a few tips to be aware of in order to keep your teeth happy and healthy all summer long.
Frequent swimmers (more than 6 hours a week) may be at risk for developing “swimmer’s calculus” -- yellowish-brown or dark brown stains on front teeth. 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.
→ Swimmer’s calculus can normally be removed by professional dental cleaning.
Scuba diving can lead to jaw joint pain, gum tissue problems, or “tooth squeeze” -- pain in the center of the tooth. These symptoms can lead to “diver’s mouth syndrome” (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.
→ Diver’s mouth syndrome is best avoided by visiting your dentist before diving to make sure your dental health is in good shape.
Sports like soccer, baseball and basketball do not require mouthguards, but they are definitely recommended. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) estimates that mouthguards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year. Using a mouthguard can prevent damage to braces or other orthodontic work, as well as prevent mouth cuts, jaw injuries and tooth damage.
→ Most sporting goods stores sell stock mouthguards and mouth-formed protectors, but custom-made mouth protectors from your dentist are the safest and most effective way to go. Although they are the most expensive option, a custom mouthguard offers the best protection, fit and comfort level because it is made from a cast to fit your teeth.
Summer sports are a lot of fun, but having teeth problems and injuries can be a huge bummer! By keeping these easy preventative tips in mind, you can be sure that you’ll be able to keep enjoying your favorite activities for the whole summer. And if you have questions about a specific sport, please don’t hesitate to contact us.