In an article ran by the New York Times titled Is Excercise Bad for Your Teeth , we’re reminded that vigorous, grunting, sweat-covered, and absolutely exhausting exercise can effectively transform your body into the body of your dreams (with a proper diet of course).
But we also learn something a little surprising – it can also have a decidedly opposite effect on your teeth. That’s right – the surprising new study shows that heavy training can contribute to dental problems ranging from gum disease and tooth decay to erosion.
In a study – researchers from Germany gathered a group of elite triathletes and a control group of individuals who were not athletes. They then collected their saliva at different points – including after strenuous exercise.
It wasn’t sports drinks after all…
What many of the researchers believed going into the study was that the athletes were more prone to dental problems because they were consuming more sugary sports drinks and energy bars than the average person. But this didn’t turn out to be the case.
While the researchers found no difference in the amount or chemical make-up of saliva from athletes and nonathletes at rest – once everyone got moving the story changed.
In both groups – as activity increased, saliva production went down while alkalinity went up. In english: they produced less saliva, and what saliva they did produce was more acidic.
The Moral of the Story: Support Your Spit when You Sport!
While this study was fairly small – it reminds us of a very important truth: your saliva exists in-large-part to help protect your teeth. It actively washes debris away and neutralizes harmful acids in your mouth.
If you are planning to begin a brand new exercise regimen and have sensitive teeth or teeth prone to cavities, don’t think twice about exercising – just “drink twice” to hydrate more and give your mouth an extra hand when it comes to keeping fresh and clean.
Have questions about how your evolving health can impact your teeth? It’s all connected! and our dentists in Garden Grove are here to help.