Are you ready for some football? The big game is this Sunday, with the New England Patriots facing off against the Atlanta Falcons.
If you’re at all like us, you might wonder why football players smear eye black (a glob of grease) under their eyes (to reduce the glare of stadium lights, which helps them see an airborne ball better).
Actually, we’ll probably be doing what you’re doing: gathering with friends to scarf down healthy snacks, like stuffed mushrooms and guacamole nachos. Heads up: If you’re looking to make something new and aren’t already following us on Facebook, you can find plenty of healthy recipes there, which we post every Wednesday.
Oh, and during the big game, some of the commercials will be pretty great, too.
Football can be fun to watch, and it can also be fun to play. While the sport comes with many rewards, it can, unfortunately, be dangerous to your eyes and teeth.
Are the Risks of Football Worth the Rewards?
Some of the rewards of football include:
- It improves fitness. Football improves aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health. It combines slow and fast movements with sprinting, which gets the heart pumping at different paces. This increases overall fitness. It can also increase bone and muscle strength.
- It can decrease stress. When you play football, dopamine is released in your brain. This can make you happier and more relaxed.
- It can help you sleep better. This is also due to dopamine in the brain.
- You can learn teamwork skills. You play football on a team. To get the ball down the field, you have to execute a play, which requires everyone to cooperate.
- You can make quick decisions. Because football is such a fast-paced sport, you have to sharpen your reflexes.
- It can build confidence. After seeing the gains from the game, football can encourage you to pursue and achieve other goals.
However, football is one of the more dangerous sports when it comes to teeth and eye safety. It is a game of many collisions — from the offense trying to block the defense to a defender tackling a receiver. Any of these, especially if a collision ends up being head-on, can cause damage to teeth and eyes.
Four Reasons Football Injuries Can Be Devastating
Losing teeth or sustaining eye injuries can have serious consequences. Here’s why:
- Missing teeth can make it harder to chew foods. Teeth break down food for proper digestion. Better chewing can better nourish your body, as chewing produces more saliva. Saliva can prevent plaque from building up around teeth and can also aid in the digestion process.
- Missing teeth can make it harder to speak. Teeth aid in speech. If you’re missing teeth, your tongue might readjust, which can affect your speaking skills.
- Injuries to the eye can affect your vision. This may seem like an obvious thing to write, but consider it for a moment. Your eyes are a window to the world. With impaired sight, it could feel like your window has some annoying smudges.
- Damage to teeth and eyes can affect your appearance. When you smile, the first feature many people notice is your teeth. Teeth support the lips and face. Some people have reported their noses and upper lips sagging after losing their two front teeth. Likewise, some people claim eyes are the first feature we fall in love with. Damage to either could rob you of your hard-earned confidence.
Three Pieces You Need to Protect Your Eyes and Teeth
When you play the sport, yes, you want to play for the love of the game. But protecting your eyes and teeth should be No. 1. It’s ok, though. You have a few options:
- Always wear a football helmet. A football helmet has a face mask, which can protect both your eyes and teeth.
- Wear sports goggles. Sports goggles can offer added protection to the eyes where the cracks in the wire mesh of a face mask might not.
- Wear a mouth guard. A mouth guard can protect your teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw.
Football, like any other sport, does come with its enjoyable moments. But it can be dangerous. Get out, and enjoy the game. Just make sure to protect your eyes and teeth when you do!