Soccer, Summer, Swimming, and Your Smile


As Germany and Argentina prepare to vie for the World Cup, it seems that everyone across the country has soccer on the brain. This year we’ve seen some excellent examples of how NOT to protect your teeth during physical activity—a certain biting incident comes to mind. Whether you play soccer, football, or another popular summer sport, you’ll need to take precautions. Drs. Maria and Thanasi Loukas, your Park Ridge, IL dentists, shares tips for healthy teeth and gums.

Mouthguards Protect Teeth and Gums From Injury

Missing teeth? Not a good look. Sports-related injuries are the most common cause of dental emergencies, resulting in cracked or chipped teeth. An athletic mouthguard doesn’t just cushion your teeth from trauma; it also helps prevent the inside of your mouth from being cut or gouged by teeth. Although stock mouthguards are affordable, Dr. Loukas recommends wearing a custom-fitted appliance. Mouthguards purchased in stores are more likely to be uncomfortable and can easily slip out of place, leaving your teeth unprotected. A poorly fitted mouthguard can also interfere with breathing and speech.

Skip the Sports and Energy Drinks

Hydration is important when participating in any physical activity, not just sports. Water is usually the best choice of beverage during light to moderate activity. Sports drinks, on the other hand, should be avoided unless you plan to spend several hours engaged in vigorous exercise. This is because sports drinks are highly acidic and saturated with sugar. These qualities pose a direct threat to your oral health by damaging tooth enamel and making your teeth more prone to tooth decay. Energy shots and drinks should be avoided altogether.

Protect Your Teeth Poolside

If you keep fit with water aerobics, swimming laps, or water polo, Dr. Loukas warns that your teeth may require special treatment. Pool water is treated with several strong chemicals, many of which can be damaging to your teeth. Not that you would drink pool water, mind you, but the corrosive nature of these chemicals bears mentioning. Swimming a few hours per week poses a negligible threat. Spending more than six hours a day in the pool, however, increases the risk of damage. Your Park Ridge dentist recommends keeping a bottle of water poolside, taking a sip every few minutes or so. After a lengthy swim, brush your teeth. A tooth with damaged enamel is more likely to show stains and may also become sensitive to heat and cold.

Keep smiling through the summer. To learn more about preventive dental care, or to schedule an appointment with your Park Ridge, IL general dentist, contact us at 847.696.1919. We welcome patients living in and around the Park Ridge and Chicago areas.

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