Sports Dentistry at SmilePlus
Our Principal Dentist, Fiona Davidson, has strong sporting connections too – she has been working with the Scottish Rugby Union since 2007 and provides dental care to International, Olympic and Commonwealth Games athletes and boxers.
Why are healthy teeth so important for sportspeople?
Nobody welcomes dental problems, but teeth troubles can be particularly problematic if you are taking part in an important sporting event. So if you are the sporty type, it’s a good idea to see us regularly to enable us to keep a watchful eye on the health of your teeth. Symptoms often only occur during the later stages of dental disease and may crop up at the most inconvenient moment.
Risk factors for dental problems
- Neglect – If you are busy training and competing, you may neglect your teeth. A lack of routine care and maintenance, and not attending regular dental examinations and hygiene appointments can lead to dental emergencies, even if you have had no previous problems.
- Wisdom Teeth – These teeth are the last to emerge in the mouth, making an appearance in the late teens and twenties – a particularly active age for sporting pursuits. If wisdom teeth become impacted and do not emerge properly, they can become infected and may cause pain, swelling and fever.
- Diet – Isotonic drinks may be recommended for rehydrating elite athletes but they are also packed full of sugar and very acidic, just like normal fizzy drinks. If you consume these regularly, you will increase your risk of tooth decay and acid erosion.
Wider reaching effects of poor dental health
Healthy teeth don’t just look good and function well, they also have an impact on your overall well-being. Infection stemming from gum disease, decay or infected wisdom teeth can travel around the body in the blood stream, settling in other sites (such as injuries) where it can cause problems. A general level of infection (bacteraemia) can cause us to feel below par, which is particularly unwelcome if you are competing at the highest levels in sport.
Some sporting tips
- Attend regular check-ups so we can examine your teeth (including taking x-rays). This means we can spot problems at an early stage, before they get any worse. Our hygienists will also be able to advise you on brushing techniques and how to keep teeth healthy.
- Have your wisdom teeth checked. If they have only partially emerged or are in a position that could weaken the jaw bone (in contact sports), they may need to be removed.
- Try to limit how much contact isotonic drinks have with your teeth by drinking from a bottle with a nozzle so the liquid can be squirted to the back of the throat. Rinse your mouth daily with a fluoride containing mouthwash (a dispenser can be conveniently installed in changing rooms) as this dramatically reduces the risk of decay. And, when possible, try to drink water instead.
Supporting from the sidelines
Sports dentists can provide cover for the treatment of traumatic injuries to the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth at many sporting events. Early management of injuries can be crucial – even if a tooth is knocked out, it can be put back in place, splinted and saved. However, successful replantation is more readily achieved if treatment takes place within an hour of the accident.
As well keeping your body in peak condition, remember to pay close attention to your teeth and gums too. Give us a call on 0131 334 1581 or book online for your free initial consultation if you would like more information about sports dentistry.
Photo credit: © Craig Watson, Craig Watson, [email protected], 07479748060, www.craigwatson.co.uk