Dentipedia

Oral Health and Sport

Sport is great for helping us maintain physical fitness, staying active and being social. But there are also the risks of injury which can certainly spoil a winning score.

Apart from the obvious risk of tooth loss through a collision, there are other less known risks to your teeth and dental health you may not be aware of.

Contact Sports

A number of sports carry the risk of injury particularly contact sports like soccer, rugby, hocky, netball and — obviously — boxing. Any injury to the head can cause trauma to the mouth and teeth, even if the damage isn’t immediately apparent.

Plus cuts or abrasions in the mouth — for example, by biting the tongue in a collision — can lead to infection and other problems.

If you do fracture or lose a tooth while playing sport, it is an emergency, so don’t play on! Call ahead to make an emergency appointment and get straight to the dentist. If you’re quick enough, it may be possible to place the tooth back into the socket.

Mouthguards

The obvious protection is a mouthguard, cushioning the teeth against sudden impact. There is also some evidence that wearing a mouthguard during contact sport may reduce the chance of concussion. Mouthguards are also essential if you’re playing sport while wearing braces or other orthodontic treatments, as damage to these can not only cause damage to your teeth but also be expensive to repair or replace.

Read more about Mouthguards

Swimming

You might not think it, but regular swimming can stain your teeth!

The chemically-treated water in most swimming pools has a higher pH level than saliva. This reacts with the saliva to produce organic deposits on the teeth known as “swimmers’ calculus” — a yellowish-brown stain.

A professional dental clean can usually remove the deposits.

Diving

The pressures endured while scuba diving can cause various problems in the mouth that are collectively known as “diver’s mouth syndrome” or baradontalgia; pain in the jaw joint, gum tissue or in the centre of the tooth (tooth squeeze). The pressure changes are not the only cause, however. Another major cause is the diver biting too hard on the scuba air regulator. But air pressure changes are behind tooth squeeze, exerting increased pressure on the dental pulp in the middle of a tooth. This is exacerbated if the diver has a cavity or other exposure of the tooth, or has undergone incomplete root canal therapy. Your dentist can advise you on fitting the mouthpiece more comfortably to reduce problems and check to make sure there are no other dental problems that may contribute to baradontalgia.

My tooth was knocked out, what should I do?

Go to the dentist immediately. Getting to the dental specialist within 30 minutes can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth. If a tooth is put back into its socket within 30 minutes, there is a good chance of the tooth re-attaching.

  • Handle the tooth by the crown (the top), not the root. Touching the root (the part of the tooth below the gum) can cause damage to the cells
  • Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt. Do not touch, rub or scrub the tooth
  • Place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and the gum to keep it moist
  • Do not let the tooth dry out
  • If it is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse in milk (not water).

     

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