As the last days of summer simmer down, heading out to your local beach or lake can be a great way to get in some quality time with your friends and family. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, approximately 74 million Americans participate in boating each year. This activity takes many forms—some people jump on water skis for an adrenaline rush, others explore their competitive sides by racing canoes, and many simply relax for a sunset sail around the harbor. Boating is a great summer activity, but unfortunately, it can also put your smile at risk. At Dr. Craig Armstrong’s Houston dental practice, we’re committed to helping our patients have their fun while maintaining their pearly whites. In the following blog, we discuss the dental dangers of boating and describe how our team can help.
Whether you’re aboard a sailboat, kayaking, or speeding along in a jet ski, you’ll need to tread carefully on your vessel’s wet surfaces, especially when you get in and out of it. Slipping and falling could cause a whole host of injuries. Any impact to your facial region could cause dental damage. Excessive pressure or force on your teeth could cause them to chip, break, crack, or fracture. Severe cases of oral trauma could require an emergency dental appointment, during which Dr. Armstrong can clean your tooth, apply bonding material, and cap it with a dental crown if needed. However, even more minor damage can cause serious oral health problems down the line. Many people incur tiny fractures or chips without immediately realizing it. Left untreated, these openings in the tooth can increase your risk for decay and allow bacteria to penetrate its inner workings, which may require a filling or root canal therapy to remedy.
To lower your risk for dental injury while boating, you should:
Many people enjoy cruising around their local bay, lake, or harbor with an on-boat picnic. Hungry boaters might also be tempted to grab snacks between rounds of jet skiing or canoe racing. No matter which type of water-based recreational activity you enjoy, maintaining a healthy diet is a must. To keep your teeth smooth, clean, and cavity-free, try to avoid sugary, starchy, or acidic snacks while munching on fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
In the well-known nautical poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a sailor utters the famous line: “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” This sentiment rings true when it comes to boating. NRS explains: “Dehydration, or excessive loss of bodily fluids, is a common problem in a number of athletic endeavors, and it’s often a problem that boaters experience.” NRS goes on to explain that boaters are particularly prone to dehydration because:
Your hydration affects every aspect of your wellbeing, but it is especially key to your dental health. Your saliva acts as a natural mouthwash—in addition to rinsing away debris, it contains compounds that actively fight harmful bacteria. Without enough water, your body can’t produce the spit you need to maintain a beautiful smile. To keep your teeth healthy while out on the water, we recommend replenishing your fluids between activities, bringing small portable flasks aboard with you, and using facilities wherever they are available.
If you take the right steps, you don’t have to sacrifice your smile to sail. Contact our practice in Westchase today to learn more tips or schedule an appointment.