5 dental tips for school sports

School sports have begun, and players are hitting the field. Through all the ups and downs, don’t let your kid’s oral health get put on the bench. These five tips can help your child maintain terrific teeth from the first practice to the final buzzer.

1. Always wear a mouthguard

Wearing a mouthguard can protect against chipped teeth, lip cuts and jaw damage. There are three kinds of mouthguards: ready-made, boil-and-bite and custom. Ready-made and boil-and-bite mouthguards are available at retail stores. Choose a boil-and-bite mouthguard for a better fit, or ask your dentist for a custom mouthguard to get the best fit. Check if your dental plan covers mouthguards.

2. Choose water to hydrate

Water is the best way to quench your thirst during practices and games. Not only does it stave off dehydration, it can also reduce your chance of cavities.

3. Fuel up like an all-star

Nutrition is a huge part of athletic performance. Great sources of carbohydrates for sustained energy include whole-grain breads, vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes. And don’t forget high-protein foods like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, dairy and nuts.

4. Keep teeth and mouthguards clean

If not cleaned regularly, mouthguards can get pretty foul. Make sure your kids brush their teeth before popping in their mouthguards and after taking them out. They should also wash their mouthguards, too. Follow your dentist’s instructions or the guidelines on the packaging.

5. Be prepared for a mouth injury

Athletes who play a high-contact sport are at a higher risk for dental injuries. About 13 to 39% of all dental injuries are caused by athletic activities, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association. Be prepared for this worst-case scenario by knowing where to go, what number to call and how your plan covers dental emergencies.