Exercise and Your Teeth
Exercise is good for your body, but could it be bad for your smile? A recent study, which was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, revealed that vigorous exercise and heavy training schedules could pose risks to your dental health. This study supports previous findings published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, which found that a significant percentage of Olympic athletes were suffering from dental problems severe enough to interfere with their performance.
The researchers who performed the study recruited thirty-five athletes and thirty-five healthy adults of the same ages and genders who were not athletes. Each adult had a complete dental exam and answered questions about their diets, dental hygiene, exercise routines, and other lifestyle habits. Saliva was collected several times during a strenuous outdoor run. Researchers found that the athletes’ saliva decreased over the course of the run, and the chemical composition became more alkaline. Excessive alkaline oral conditions could lead to plaque and tartar buildup, much like excessive acidity. Researchers also found that the athletes had greater enamel erosion and more cavities compared to the control group, and that the risk of cavities increased with the amount of time spent exercising.
While this study was small and the researchers did not examine the causes behind the increased risk of dental problems, it does highlight the importance of attention to good dental care for athletes. If you regularly exercise at intense levels, you may need to take extra steps to protect your smile. Drink water to keep your mouth hydrated, and brush and floss to reduce oral bacteria. Visit us regularly for cleanings and dental exams. Avoid sugary or starchy foods, as well as energy drinks, which could contribute to cavities. Call us to find out more or to schedule an appointment with our dentist in North Hollywood.
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