When you head out onto the court, the running trail or the gym, you rarely think of your oral health.

But beyond physical contact, sports can have a big impact on your oral health. That’s why it’s important that all athletes ensure they take the proper steps to protect their dental health.

To help you do that, we’ve got three tips on how to protect your teeth while staying active. 

Wear a mouthguard

If your sport involves physical contact or a risk of facial injuries, always wear a properly fitted mouthguard. Mouthguards act as a protective barrier, reducing the risk of dental injuries such as broken teeth, jaw fractures, and soft tissue damage. Consult with your dentist to ensure you have a custom-fitted mouthguard that provides optimal protection and comfort for your specific sport.

Be mindful of bruxism and TMJ

Swimmer Athlete Smile

Intense training and competition can cause athletes to clench their teeth. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always stop when you leave your arena. This jaw clenching can lead to Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) pain or bruxism (grinding your teeth at night). Grinding can wear down your tooth enamel, leading to sensitivity, jaw pain, and even fractures. If you suspect you’re grinding your teeth, consult your dentist, who may recommend a custom sleeping mouthguard or other techniques to manage bruxism and protect your teeth.

Opt for tooth-friendly refreshments

Many athletes rely on snacks and sugary drinks to fuel their workouts and recover post-exercise. These are often high in sugar and hard on your teeth. Instead of sugary and acidic snacks, opt for alternatives like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and yogurt. These options provide essential nutrients while minimizing the risk of tooth decay.