We like when our patients stay active at Pacific Dental care, and a part of that is engaging in activities, getting out of your comfort zone, and really experimenting with your overall health. A part of that is making sure that you take care of your teeth and mouth in the process. Too often, even as adults, sporting events or extracurricular activities end in a dental emergency either because the participants aren’t taking the proper precaution (like wearing a mouthguard), or they are being careless about other people’s safety. Today, Pacific Dental Care would like to talk about the most dangerous activities for your teeth and mouth, in addition to making some suggestions about how you can boost your chances of getting in and out of the event with your pearly whites in tact.

We would never try to dissuade anybody from taking part in sports and physical activities, but it’s good to have a plan in place to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and the people you’re playing with. Dangerous activities for your teeth can take you anywhere from the court to the field, from the city to the snow-capped mountains.

First, we’d like to talk about the extreme sports. Skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, biking, even knee boarding and tubing can be dangerous activities for your teeth. It doesn’t matter if you’re hitting the park on the mountain, hitting that handrail, or if you’re being towed by a boat while sitting on an innertube, a single motion can send your face smacking into a rail, crashing into the pavement, or your knee flying up into your mouth. Tooth loss and damage can happen in the blink of an eye during these activities. It’s always good to wear a mouthguard, even while being extreme. You might get a couple of snide looks out there, but your teeth with thank you for it in the long run. Not many people can pull off the missing tooth look.

Second, the sports that involve hand-to-hand combat, or one on one competition, like wrestling, boxing, martial arts, and MMA fighting can pose a risk to your teeth. When your opponent is trying to land a punch to your face, it’s going to also pose a threat to your mouth. Luckily, many of these sports involve headgear and have mouthguard requirements. With sports such as these, there is an out-in-the-open sort of risk that makes officials enforce strict safety rules. That’s what makes these sports come up a little less on our radar, because participants already know about the risk and prepare accordingly.

Next come the “ball and stick” sports and games. Baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, any of these sports come with dental injury risk. Hockey is an especially risky sport for your teeth, since many players refuse to wear facemasks (even goalies used to decline face masks in the early days of the sport, can you believe that?). By and large, players will wear mouthguards, especially in lacrosse and hockey. We can also lump football in this category, even though no sticks are involved in its current iteration. Widespread mouthguard use extant since the 1950s is a big reason that football is no longer the most risky activity for your teeth.

The most risky sport for your teeth is actually (drum roll)… basketball! It’s hard to believe this, because basketball has been deemed one of the more poetic and beautiful games, much like soccer. But, unlike soccer, basketball is extremely physical, especially the game played inside the key. Pick up games are seldom regulated by officials, so these games can often get physical. Professional players even lose their teeth during games. Mouth guard use is incorporated but not enforced. In one study, men’s basketball counted for almost 11% of dental injuries per 100 athletes, which is about 3 times more than football.

So, it’s important that when you gear up for some good, healthy competition, make sure that you pack your mouthguard. It’s also beneficial to play safe out there. There’s really no reason to put yourself or anyone else at increased risk of injury by playing with reckless abandon. Keep yourself and the people you play with safe. Look out for each other in sport and in life. Make sure you also schedule your regular visits with Pacific Dental Care, and if you have any questions about how to safeguard your million dollar smile, we’ll be happy to give you any sort of advice you need.