Protecting Your Kid's Teeth During Sports

Starting and excelling in a new sport is a great experience for a child, but it sometimes is not a very good experience for your child's teeth. You need to take the right precautions to make sure your child's teeth stay healthy during sports season. 

Limit Sports Drinks

Part of the reason why your child can experience more tooth decay when involved in sports is because of an over-reliance on sports drinks, juice, and other sweetened beverages for hydration. Instead, for short practices, it's usually best to drink water.

For longer training sessions and games when electrolyte levels become depleted through sweat, have your child drink sports drinks with a straw to protect the teeth, and have them swish with water after drinking. This helps prevent the sugars from lingering the mouth and settling on the teeth. 

Alternatively, you can make your own electrolyte drinks from coconut water and added salts for sugar-free or low-sugar replenishment, avoiding sports drinks entirely. Have your child brush their teeth after each training session, too.

Require Mouth Guards

Many youth sports require the use of mouth guards, particularly for high-contact activities like football, rugby, wrestling, and martial arts. However, mouth guards can be advantageous in any sport, even sports where mouth guards are less common. You might ask your child to wear a mouth guard during soccer, baseball, and even track events. 

You can get a custom fitted mouth guard from your dentist. These are generally the most comfortable. You can also find mouth guards at local sports stores that you can fit to your mouth as you bite into them. 

Keep Your Child Hydrated

Children are often less aware of thirst cues during games and practices. They also are not as able to recognize their breathing patterns, so they often will breathe through the mouth when playing. Both things are damaging to teeth because they dry out the mouth.

Without enough saliva, bacteria are more likely to rest on the surface of the teeth and start eroding the enamel. Encourage your child to keep drinking water before the game begins, and always bring extra water bottles with you. You can talk to your child about the benefits of learning to breathe through the nose during exercise in order to protect the teeth from getting too dry. 

Sports season does not have to mean increased dental decay. For more information on keeping your child's teeth healthy during sports, contact a local kids dentist