Health Tips for Teen Athletes
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Body, Vitamins and Minerals
Dental Health Tips for Teen Athletes
Athletes are known for their healthy bodies. In fact, athletes, quite possibly, are the healthiest people on Earth. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have challenges staying healthy. On the contrary, being an athlete means you’re continuously putting your body through intense demands, constantly pushing its limits and endeavoring to ‘one-up’ yourself. This is the reason athletes, over and above those who aren’t involved in athletics, must be ever vigilant about their health. And teen athletes, maybe even more so than adult athletes, must be particularly steadfast in heeding the advice of their own bodies. This is why it’s so important for teen athletes to observe a stringent dental health regimen that keeps their teeth in optimum condition. Here are dental health tips for teen athletes from cosmetic dentists in Short Hills that will help you, the teen athlete, maintain maximum oral health as you strive for your own personal athletic ideals. If you have damaged teeth due to a sports injury you should contact a cosmetic dentist near you ASAP. A cosmetic dentist will be able to fix any cosmetic dental injury you may have.
Your Dental Health Routine
Brushing, Flossing, and Mouthwash
Your teeth are only as healthy as you make them. If you observe a healthy dental hygiene routine that will take only a few minutes every day you should have healthy teeth for the rest of your life. Being a young athlete means you have your whole life ahead of you; you don’t want to do it without your teeth, do you? Of course not! And a healthy oral hygiene routine means brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and adding a mouthwash that can help wash away bad bacteria. Because firm bristles can cause damage to gums, choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles, and try not to brush too vigorously. Floss your teeth at least once every day in order to remove food particles that your toothbrush cannot. Even if you use one of those fancy power toothbrushes, you’ll still have food particles left between your teeth that cannot be reached by toothbrushes. You may even want to consider using a hygienic oral mouthwash in order to wash away bacteria.
Teeth Healthy Diet
Sticky, sugary, processed foods that stick to your teeth are just plain bad for you. Teens are particularly prone to cavities and gum disease because they tend to eat sugary and processed foods that are bad for teeth. And teen athletes often don’t have time between school and practices or workouts to sit down and eat a healthy meal. This can result in them grabbing a quick fix in the form of a sugary, processed snack. Don’t let this happen to you. Reach instead for raw foods. Foods such as crunchy fruits and vegetables will not only help to clean your teeth, but keep your whole body healthier.
Important Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is important for teeth because it's important to mucosal tissue function.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D aids in remineralization of tooth enamel and in keeping mucosal tissue healthy.
Calcium: One of the most vital nutrients to teeth, calcium promotes healthy growth and maintenance of teeth and bone structures. It’s also associated with healthy enamel.
Protein: Protein is very important to teeth and their surroundings structures because it helps in maintaining proper structure and maximum immune function. It's also beneficial for optimal development of connective tissue.
Phosphorous: Phosphorous helps teeth and bone structures remain healthy. It also helps to promote healthy growth and maintenance of these.
Regular Dental Checkups
One of the most important things that you, as a teen athlete, must do to keep your teeth healthy is to visit your dentist twice a year. Your dentist is able to note changes going on in your mouth long before you can. Those changes that may be occurring could be detrimental to teeth if they're not caught early, especially when it comes to tooth decay, tooth or tooth structure weakening, or even signs that oral cancers may be forming.
It goes without saying that junk food is bad for athletes. So why do teen athletes eat it? As mentioned above, it’s often because they don’t have time to grab anything but a quick snack. If you need something to ‘rev up your engine’ and get your body ready for a workout or a game, grab something that’s better for your body as well as your teeth.
Starchy foods cause plaque buildup. They’re sticky, and they clump in your teeth. Sounds pretty disgusting, eh? Well it is! Starchy foods leave food particles behind that your toothbrush often can’t get to easily.
Sugary and processed foods are much like starchy, processed foods. They cause plaque, and plaque causes bacteria in your mouth. Sugary, processed foods such as cakes, candies, sodas, cookies, sweet teas, iced coffees, and most especially those sugary so-called ‘energy’ drinks teen athletes tend to love so much—these all cause bad bacteria to grow within your mouth that’s hard to get rid of. It’s okay to eat a sugary snack once in a while, but try to limit these to a couple times a week at the most. And, by all means, brush and floss after every sugary snack you consume!
The foods that are good for your teeth
As mentioned above, foods that contain calcium are very beneficial to the health of your teeth. Foods such as milk, various kinds of cheeses, lean proteins such as chicken, nuts, and others that contain calcium is excellent for your teeth because calcium protects the enamel on your teeth. Other vital nutrients for teeth include phosphorous, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin D. These help to protect tooth enamel and keep teeth and bone structures in optimum health.
Crunchy vegetables and fruits are excellent for teen athletes because they promote healthy teeth as well as a healthy body. You’re constantly putting pressure on your body to hit limits and go beyond them; give your body and your teeth a break by eating raw foods such as celery, carrots, apples, and pears that promote healthy teeth, not only because of their nutrients, but also because the crunching that your teeth will do when eating them is great for their health. That crunching helps to clean your teeth because it helps to wash away bad bacteria. It also helps to hydrate your mouth, which is vital for everyone but most particularly the teen athlete. All that working out you do doesn’t just cause your body to sweat; it can cause dehydration in your mouth. Be sure to eat lots of raw foods that help to hydrate your mouth and keep your oral hygiene at its optimum levels.
Beverages That Are Good For Teeth
Beverages that are good for teeth include water, calcium-rich milk, and unsweetened tea. Although fruit juices often contain vitamins and minerals that are good for teeth, many of them also have sugar that, when it’s left behind, will cause bad bacteria to be deposited all over your teeth and gums. Bad idea! If you're going to drink beverages that contain sugar, even if it's natural sugar, use a straw instead of just drinking from the glass. Straws cause beverages to go directly down the throat, largely bypassing the teeth. And something that’s especially important to teen athletes to remember when it comes to beverages that are bad for their teeth … lay off the sugary energy drinks! These are horrible for the health of your teeth and your body!
Teen athletes need extra hydration, for their bodies and for their teeth. As an athlete, you’ve probably been conditioned to add at least eight glasses of water to your regimen every day. But athletes, particularly teens, often need more than eight glasses of water—for their bodies and for their teeth. Because saliva in the mouth helps to flush out bad bacteria that can cause plaque, gum disease, and other oral health problems such as periodontitis and tooth decay, it's important that you keep your mouth well hydrated all day long. Drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids throughout the day, and try to always keep sugarless gum or sugarless candies on hand for when you can't hydrate your mouth with water.
Athletes belong to a special club of people—people who push their bodies to the limits and strive for better in everything they do. This is why they need to take extra precautions when it comes to their bodies and their health. And teen athletes in particular need to make doubly sure they’re optimizing their health routines, for the simple fact that their bodies are still growing. Being an athlete means you’re constantly challenging your body to keep up with your mind, your spirit, and your dreams of being the best that you can be. Unfortunately, in those pursuits, the health of your teeth easily can take a backseat to the health of the rest of your body. But you mustn’t allow this to happen. You already know how to discipline yourself; that much is clear. Be sure to also continue on a regimen that’s as strict for your oral health is your athletic regimen is for your body. For more dental health tips, consult with a cosmetic dentist near you.