Dental Professionals Click Here!


An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry

Treatment, prevention and other issues affecting athletes' performance and well-being

By Dr. Stephen C. Mills

(Continued)

Avoiding Other Kinds of Oral Sports Related Injuries

There are also other types of oral damage often associated with sports, if not from the actual action of the game, at least in terms of culture. They involve both the use of so-called “foods” and drugs. High fructose corn syrups and sugars found in sodas and sport drinks, not only provide empty non-nutritious calories, they actively contribute to tooth decay and erosion.

Damage from the use of smokeless tobacco, is prevalent among many young athletes in sports such as baseball. Arguably more dangerous than cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco) causes strong nicotine addiction. It is not only linked to receding gums and tooth supporting bone loss, but also to abrasion, staining and loss of teeth. But more importantly chewing tobacco leads to skin changes: leukoplakia and erythroplakia (leuko-white, erythro-red, plakia-patches) precancerous skin changes which ultimately can lead to cancer.

The best prevention is to avoid the use of smokeless tobacco in the first place. This involves more than an individual decision: icons of young athletes — star players, coaches and parents — should use their influence to change social and cultural attitudes about smokeless tobacco as a “rite of passage” in many sports. In the end, athletes should come to view the use of smokeless tobacco as unacceptable as playing without a mouthguard.

Keep Dental Injuries From Spoiling the Game

Dental injuries incurred during sports activities are highly treatable, and can involve good outcomes if participants act quickly to see a dentist after an injury event. However, if not treated quickly these kinds of injuries can lead to discomfort, embarrassment and a lifetime of dental costs.

The best medicine is, of course, prevention. If you are involved in a contact sport, wear the proper protective equipment, particularly a mouthguard. If it is economically feasible, have a custom-fit mouthguard made especially for you. Eat properly and well, refrain from smokeless and all tobacco products and drugs.

Taking these steps will help you avoid injury and focus your attention on enjoying your sport.



Enter to Win a Smile Makeover.