Athletes and Poor Oral Health

Although sports are beneficial for the body, you may be surprised to discover that athletes are more likely to have poor oral health than everyone else. While the goal of orthodontics is to straighten the teeth, it’s equally important to keep them healthy. When treating athletes, here are a few unique considerations to advise:

Gingivitis and Cavities

Despite brushing their teeth more regularly than the general population, elite athletes tend to have higher rates of oral disease. In August 2019, the British Dental Journal published an eye-opening survey that revealed that athletes still suffer from higher rates of gingivitis and untreated tooth decay, despite oral health-related habits, such as: 

  • Maintaining adequate levels of nutrition
  • Scheduling routine dental visits
  • Brushing and flossing teeth regularly (and sometimes even more often)

Even though this may catch you off guard, the perpetrator is familiar: added sugar. Commonly, athletes consume sports drinks, energy bars, and energy gels to maintain hydration and keep energy levels up during training and competition. These products are packed with sugar and are highly acidic. Consequently, tooth decay and acid erosion are likely to occur.

Dry Mouth

Whatever the sport, a common complaint amongst athletes is dry mouth. Physiologically, saliva secretion interrupts due to a combination of circumstances, such as thermogenesis and buccal respiration.

Although athletes tend to expect dry mouth during a game, dry mouth is associated with an intensified rate of demineralization. Without sufficient saliva, a dry mouth remains acidic for a prolonged period and can trigger the breakdown of enamel.

Although dentists can reverse demineralization when caught in time, it’s best to rehydrate with water during games frequently.

Traumatic Dental Emergencies

Do your athletic patients wear mouthguards during sports? It’s no secret that all sports pose a risk of injury. So, it’s commonplace to recommend mouthguards for any activity that may put your patient’s smile in danger. Mouthguards can provide additional protection during contact sports and significantly lessen dental injury rates by:

  • Offering dental, bone, and soft tissue protection
  • Supporting the alignment of the teeth
  • Potentially decreasing the occurrence and magnitude of concussion

Alternatively, the overall risk of an orofacial injury is 1.5 to 1.9 times greater when people do not wear mouth guards.

Become an Orthosnap Partner Today

Whether you provide orthodontic treatment to professional or recreational athletes, Orthosnap offers a wide range of features that can help patients stay proactive and optimize their oral health, including:

  • Removability: Because Orthosnap trays are removable, it’s easier for patients to clean their teeth (compared to traditional braces).
  • Frequent visits: Some do-it-yourself brands and other orthodontic systems do not require regular in-person visits. With Verification Key®, Orthosnap patients must visit their providers every 8th step (in a typical set of 10). During frequent visits, dentists and orthodontists can use this as an opportunity to notice the initial signs of oral health conditions (for example, you may see inflamed gums as one of the first signs of gingivitis). Frequent visits can serve as a way to help prevent the development of oral disease before it worsens to an irreversible or more burdensome to manage the stage.

Orthosnap provides everything patients and doctors need for a seamless experience for both parties. Our services include:

  • Comprehensive consultations with our representatives
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Training and product updates
  • Online portal for case tracking
  • Customed plans with objectives set by the practice
  • Marketing support
  • Custom packaging
  • Educational materials for doctors and patients

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to expand your dental practice. Contact our team today at (516) 506-7606 or conveniently online to learn more.