If You’re A Runner Are You At Risk For Worse Oral Health?

Close up of a runners legs and black running shoes Those who run know that there are many physical and mental benefits from running. It helps improve our metabolism, state of mind, and gives us more energy than we might have otherwise. But did you know that runners also have an increased risk of developing oral health issues?

The discussion of running has magazines, books, training, etc., encouraging us to run and stay active. However, the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports a few years ago conducted a study on the negative effects of running.

Runners have their fair share of sports-related injuries, but many do not consider the effects it has on their oral health. The German scientists conducting the study found that tri-athletes are more prone to teeth erosion and cavities compared to non-athletes. This study also showed that athletes who trained more often and harder than other athletes were at an even higher risk of poor oral health. What would be causing this?

What Causes Poor Oral Health In Athletes?

The study showed that this deterioration actually came from the larger amounts of carbohydrates athletes intake to keep their bodies going. It takes a larger amount of calories to maintain an athlete’s level of energy than that of an average person. A lot of these carbohydrates come from sports drinks, gels, bars, and other foods that can decrease the PH level inside of your mouth to below 5.5.  A lower PH level can result in eroded teeth and a higher chance of cavities. Additionally, there is the fact that the majority of athletes breathe more through their mouths which leads to dry mouth. Dry mouth happens when you have less saliva, which can actually protect your teeth from damage and decay.

What Can Prevent Bad Oral Health For Athletes?

Based on the findings of this study, large amounts of physical activity can have a detrimental effect on our oral health. Does that mean we shouldn’t exercise? Of course not! Our bodies need to be in motion to remain healthy, and there are many other benefits from physical activity as well. But if you are involved in higher endurance training it probably is best to schedule an appointment with one of our Boston dentists. We can check that you don’t have any cavities or damage to your teeth that could cause additional problems down the road.

If you have suffered a chipped tooth or other types of damage that need repair, the dentists at Dental Partners of Boston can help. We can also build a custom sports mouth guard to protect your teeth. Schedule an appointment with us today to let us help you protect your beautiful smile!

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