Could Playing Sports Put Your Dental Health At Risk?

If you want to stay active, playing sports is a great option. However, participating in sports could put your dental health at risk. According to, it's estimated that 13-39% of dental injuries occur when individuals are playing sports. Dental injuries often affect the front teeth, so while your favorite sport may keep you in shape, it could ruin your smile.

Sports That Increase Your Risk for Dental Injuries

Contact sports, such as basketball, football, soccer, and softball, carry a high risk for dental injuries. Surprisingly, while many people think that football is the worst offender, soccer can actually be more dangerous for your teeth, since facemasks and mouth guards aren't mandatory when you're playing. Injuries while playing basketball and softball are quite common as well.

Surprisingly, swimming can also negatively affect your teeth. If you swim regularly, you could develop dark brown or yellowish-brown stains on your teeth, since teeth are exposed regularly to chemically treated water. The chemicals in pools create water that has a higher pH than your saliva, and this can result in brown, hard deposits on your teeth. These deposits generally appear on the front teeth and they're commonly known as "swimmers' calculus."

Preventing Sports Related Dental Injuries

If you're playing contact sports, it's important to use the appropriate equipment to prevent dental injuries. Mouth guards are a great way to prevent injury to your lips, tongue, and teeth. For the best results, see your dentist for a custom-fit mouth guard. Custom mouth guards fit better, offering you improved protection.

When you're engaging in sports that involve impact or speed, make sure you wear a helmet. Wear a helmet if you're involved in sports like bike riding, hockey, football, or skating. Make sure the helmet is specifically designed for the sport you're playing, and ensure it fits correctly.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to prevent swimmer's calculus if you swim in a chemically treated pool. However, a professional cleaning can usually remove these deposits. Make sure you get regular cleanings to remove these deposits so they don't become permanent.

Restorative Dental Procedures

Even with the best protection, it's possible that you could sustain a dental injury while you're playing your favorite sport. Luckily, many restorative dental procedures are available to treat sports related dental injuries. If you have a tooth knocked out, dental implants may be used to replace the tooth. Dental bridges or dentures may also be used to replace missing teeth. If teeth are slightly fractured, a dentist can use dental veneers to return your smile to normal. The important thing is to make sure you receive dental treatment quickly after a sports related dental injury occurs.