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Protecting Your Athlete - A Dental Perspective

Is your child or teenager an athlete? I’m sure that you realize that there are risks associated with every sport. As a concerned parent, don’t you take special care to be sure that your children are equipped with everything that they need to excel in their chosen sport?

When you are making your mental list of what needs to be protected from possible injury and how you will protect them, are your children’s teeth on that list? Your children’s teeth are meant to last a lifetime with proper dental hygiene and protection from traumatic injury. This injury is an all too often result of participation in competitive sports.

There are some simple precautions and equipment that can provide that necessary protection, regardless of your child’s skills level. Contact sports represent the potential for traumatic mouth and tooth damage and one of the most important pieces of equipment you can provide your children is a properly fitted mouth guard.

The www.mouthealthy.org website notes, “It would be a shame to miss a practice or a game because you are in the dentist’s office receiving dental treatment or recovering from a dental surgical procedure.” By cushioning the mouth and teeth and helping absorb the impact of an unexpected blow, your athlete’s mouth guard is a necessary piece of his or her safety equipment. Once they get used to wearing them, players actually feel “naked” without them. 
Every sports uniform should include a mouth guard.

In your zest to keep your young athlete properly hydrated, don’t forget to read the label before offering them any type of sports or energy drink. The number one ingredient in most of them is sugar. It creates bacteria that can attack tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. Water is a great thirst quencher and guess what? It’s sugar-free!

A third consideration is something that you and your children should already be doing to protect your teeth: brushing, flossing and rinsing after meals and especially after eating or drinking any sugary food. Isn’t it worth two minutes, twice a day, for your children to keep their teeth for a lifetime? I don’t think anyone would disagree, do you

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