Sports: Great for the Body, But Bad for the Teeth?

Kids and adults who compete in sports are more likely to maintain a healthy weight, have better mental health and develop stronger bones and muscles. But despite the benefits, dental health takes a hit when it comes to some sports.

Here are some of those smile-harming offenders:


Whereas contact sports require players to wear facial protection and mouthguards, basketball requires no such thing. This makes teeth 5Xs more vulnerable to damage, whether it’s from being hit by the ball or a flying elbow. Avoid being a statistic next time you hit the court and wear a mouthguard.


While joint sprains and concussions are the most common injuries out on the field and ice, dental trauma is also frequent.

Luckily, because the sport requires mouthguards, the risk of facial injury is significantly reduced. But your best chance at protecting your teeth is with a mouthguard that fits properly.


While swimmers may not make contact with another player or ball, they do make contact with pool chemicals. These chemicals, such as chlorine, can cause swimmers’ calculus, putting athletes at risk for tooth stains and enamel loss.

Swimmers who spend more than 6 hours a week at the pool are at the highest risk and should maintain a thorough oral health routine.

Just because your sport isn’t listed above doesn’t mean your teeth are risk-free. Here are 3 things to looks out for; no matter what sport you play:

Saliva keeps cavity-causing bacteria at bay. But athletes who fail to rehydrate properly run the risk of dry mouth, which can lead to cavities. Here are some clever ways you can replenish after you sweat.

Sports drinks
Sports drinks are highly acidic, loaded with sugar and erode teeth faster than cola. These beverages should only be consumed after 60-90 minutes of high-intensity workouts and followed by water to wash away the sugar.

Sports require immense concentration, which can cause athletes to clench their teeth, grinding down enamel. Athletes can prevent the grind by wearing a mouthguard and practicing stress-reducing behaviors.

Until next time, smile on and game on!

Contact us today to learn how Hawaii Dental Service can ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles for your business and employees.
MALLORIE LIM  |  Strategic Account Executive
Hawaii Dental Service (HDS)
Phone:  (808) 529-9287

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HDS is the first and largest dental benefits provider in the state, serving more than one million people throughout Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. It has the largest network of dentists with over 95 percent of Hawaii’s licensed, practicing dentists participating with HDS. As a nonprofit founded in Hawaii 55 years ago, HDS is committed to making quality healthcare affordable and accessible, in addition to providing oral health education, preventing oral disease, and increasing access to dental care for underserved populations across Hawaii.


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