If you watch just a few minutes of a professional ice hockey game on TV, you won't have to look hard to find a player who is missing at least one of his teeth. While this may concern if you if you're just taking up the sport, the reality is that there are several simple steps that you can take to keep your smile intact, rather than make an emergency visit to your local dentist to have extensive repair work done. While pucks, sticks, and elbows can definitely threaten your oral health when you play hockey, the following tips will be helpful to ensure that your dentist remarks on the healthy nature of your teeth during your next checkup.
Wear Your Mouthguard At All Times
It's a good idea to wear a mouthguard when you play ice hockey. In adult recreational leagues, this rule might not be enforced, but that doesn't mean you should skip this valuable piece of safety gear. A mouthguard is one of the best ways of protecting your teeth. While you can buy a mouthguard at any sporting goods store, you may also wish to consider talking to your dentist about a custom guard. Many dental clinics can precisely measure your mouth for a custom guard, ensuring a better fit and more protection for your teeth.
Wear Full-Face Protection
If you play in a recreational league, you may have the option of wearing a half-visor attached to your helmet. While this accessory will protect your eyes, which is important, it completely leaves your mouth exposed. That means that, even with a mouthguard, you're at risk of dental damage from sticks, pucks, and opposing players. A better choice is to wear full-face protection. These full shields are typically available in clear plastic or are made up of a series of metal bars, and each will keep things that can cause harm to your teeth away from you.
Use Your Water Bottle Wisely
If you have a water bottle with a tip that you pull to open, don't be tempted to do so with your teeth. Many hockey players will stick the tip in their teeth and pull on it, but this may risk chipping or cracking a tooth. It's always better to open the water bottle with your hands, or simply leave the top open when it's sitting on the bench. You should also spray the water into your mouth, rather than put the tip directly against your teeth. If an opponent on the bench were to inadvertently jostle you while you drink, this impact may be dangerous for your teeth.
For more information, talk to a dentist at a clinic like DSW Dental.