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exercise and your teeth

June 4, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — drsabharwal @ 6:48 pm

Summer is just ahead (where did this cold weather come from?!) of us! It’s the time of year where everyone starts eating better, spending more time outdoors, exercising more, and remembering once again how to keep our bodies healthy. It’s a known fact that exercise is the best preventative measure for basically any disease out there, but does this include oral health? Could more exercise actually be harmful to our teeth??

A new study just published last month indicates that athletes who endure intense exercise have poorer oral health.  The study points out that levels of intense exercise – an average of 9 hours a week – leads to increased risk for cavities, plaque build up and tooth erosion.  In fact, there was a significant correlation between the number of cavities and weekly training times! Surprisingly, it was NOT shown to have anything to do with sugary drinks, gels, or re-hydration solutions.  The study shows that it’s our own saliva that changes with a certain level of exercise – it becomes more alkaline (an increased pH level) and we produce less!

Although the study was small and short, it provides some useful information to help us understand what is going on in our mouths during intense exercise. It also supports an earlier claim made in the British Journal of Sports Medicine  that the training Olympic athletes endure is correlated to poor oral health.

So what does this mean for us? Do we stop exercising for fear of poor oral health? NO! Absolutely not. For one thing, the majority of us probably are not training at Olympic athlete level and may not even see an increased risk at all.  However, for those who do exercise at that intensity, there is plenty you can do to help reduce your risk.

  • Remember to brush and floss twice a day
  • Re-hydrate with water immediately afterwards first, before consumption of anything else
  • Avoid sugary drinks like gatorade, energy drinks or energy gels during workouts
  • See your dentist (that would be us!) regularly – more so if you are a serious endurance athlete

We’re always here for you. Call, email or stop by if you have any questions!

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