When we think of high level athletes or endurance athletes it’s easy to assume that they have healthy teeth as well. According to a recent study done in Germany, that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, the study titled Effect of Endurance Training on Dental Erosion, Caries and Saliva published on June 11th in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that there is a direct correlation between dental erosion/decay and high levels of exercise. A number of factors play into the correlation, including the use of sugary sports drinks and gels, carbohydrate-packed energy bars, and the fact that salivary flow is reduced during exercise causing dry mouth that can increase the likelihood of tooth decay.
Obviously, we aren’t advocating not exercising regularly, especially during the holiday season. But given the information from this study it’s important that we give our oral health the same attention that we give our bodies. For people that exercise regularly at a high level (triathletes, distance runners, CrossFit participants) it’s necessary to take special actions to prevent a decline in their oral health. The American Dental Association recommends keeping regular dental appointments every 6 months, brushing and flossing daily and using a fluoride supplement such as a prescription toothpaste or mouth rinse. If you’re a high level athlete, make sure you tell your dentist or hygienist and ask them to help you develop an oral health regimen specific to your needs.
So from everyone at Finney Family Dentistry we hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season. Make sure to get some good exercise in and don’t forget to take great care of your teeth!! We hope to see you at your next dental appointment!