Mouth Madness

It’s that time of year again when the whole country goes a little mad – mad for basketball tournament brackets, obscure college mascots and Cinderella stories. When you’re not busy updating your wins and losses this month, take a few moments to consider how you can improve your oral health game.

Sport a mouthguard. Whether you have kids that participate in sports or are known to play some pick-up games yourself, mouthguards are musts. 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.1 That goes for practices, too!

Avoid overuse of sports drinks. It may seem like second nature to grab a sports drink after a game or practice, but used too often they may be doing more harm than good. Not only are many of them loaded with sugar, they’re also highly acidic, which can be harmful to tooth enamel.2 A better bet for hydration for most workouts is plain old water. If you occasionally want something different after strenuous exercise, coconut water is a low-sugar, high-electrolyte option containing lots of nutrients.3

Combat dry mouth. Expending a lot of energy can leave athletes panting for breath, which often leads to a dry mouth. Without the normal amount of saliva flowing, food particles aren’t washed away as well. If they get stuck there too long, they will eventually cause decay and cavities – especially when you add in sugary sports drinks.4 Proper hydration with a sugar-free drink will help keep your mouth moist, but it never hurts to throw in an extra tooth brushing session post-game or after practice.

1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11782645
2 http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Search/22,Delta145
3 http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/10/10/sports-drinks-affect-oral-health.aspx
4 http://www.livewellnebraska.com/health/why-runners-athletes-may-be-at-higher-risk-for-oral/article_3957eafa-706f-11e4-9a50-1f6e40774495.html


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