Why Your Workout Could Be Ruining Your Smile
Exercise is not only great for your muscles, bones and energy level, it also improves your mood and helps with brain health. But did you know that frequent, intense workouts can actually ruin your teeth?
Athletes At Higher Risk for Tooth Decay
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that athletes who train up to nine hours every week have a higher instance of enamel erosion and more cavities than couch potatoes. Not only that, but the amount of tooth decay actually increased with the athletes’ frequency and amount of training. And it’s not because they’re chugging sugary sports drinks after every workout.
Dry Mouth = More Cavities
Researchers conducted a thorough oral exam of each participant (both athletes and non-athletes) and collected their saliva both before and after they completed a strenuous 35 minute run. Gross, but very telling. The athletes’ saliva production decreased significantly during their run, which is a problem. A healthy amount of saliva in your mouth is important to combat bacteria and protect teeth from cavities. Not only that, but their saliva became more alkaline as they ran. Excess alkalinity in saliva is thought to contribute to the development of plaque and other problems.
Don’t Cancel Your Trainer
Although it would be tempting (very tempting!) to use this study as an excuse to bail on your workout, don’t. The benefits of exercise on your overall health and wellness are quite significant. Like anything, including chocolate and wine, moderation is key. Drinking water, not just after, but during your workout, can also help saliva production and keep your mouth from getting too dry. And, as always, practicing good oral hygiene can help. In other words, don’t cancel your trainer, but do brush, floss and see your dentist regularly!