Palos Pediatric Dentistry

Spring Sports – Healthy Habits for Healthy Teeth!

Spring usually means warmer temperatures, some rain, and tulips emerging from the ground. If you don't look outside, you might actually believe that spring is here! Despite extended winter temperatures, registration for spring sports is here. When you're considering which sports to register for, keep in mind some habits to keep your child healthy during sports and activities.

Hydration is an important part of any sport, but many of the options out there can lead to dental decay. There is no evidence to support the need for sports drinks during athletic activities in children. While performance sports drinks may help athletes at the highest level of competition, they are full of sugar and are harmful to the teeth. This includes Gatorade, Vitamin Water, Power Aid, and many others. During sporting events, the best choice for your child is also the least expensive – tap water! Tap water will keep your child hydrated, and will also provide fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral that helps to strengthen teeth. If your child must have a sports drink, encourage them to drink it after their sporting activity, and for a short duration. Children who sip on sports drinks throughout a one-hour time period are more likely to get cavities than children who drink the same thing, in the same amount, in 5 minutes after a game. We always take the time to discuss your child's dietary habits, and make recommendations based on each individual child's lifestyle.

Traumatic injuries are also a concern during the spring sport season. Believe it or not, we see far fewer dental injuries in the more violent sports – including football, lacrosse, and ice hockey. That's because the most dangerous sports require helmets and mouthguards. Dental injuries occur more commonly in baseball, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. There are also different types of malocclusion (the way the teeth fit together) that make some children more injury-prone than others. We highly recommend mouthguards for any sports with the possibility of contact. We would be happy to discuss the different types of mouthguards that are available, and which is most appropriate for your child.

Sports can be particularly challenging for kids' teeth – especially with sugared sports drinks and the possibility of injury. We hope your kids stay healthy this spring!

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