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Intense training can increase the risk of tooth decay and other oral problems.
Some studies have found that many athletes have poor oral health, with a large number of cavities, a greater tendency for gum disease and erosion of tooth enamel.
Why is exercise detrimental to oral health?
It might be thought that the excess sugary drinks and of sport drinks could be the cause of these dental problems. But it seems that this is not the cause.
A study shows that it is the prolonged training what it produces changes in the quantity and in the chemical composition of the saliva, and that this would be what would be increasing the amount of oral problems among athletes.
During the investigation, the dental health of 35 competitive triathletes and 35 healthy adults of the same age and gender who were not athletes were analyzed. During the study, a complete oral examination was performed, including collection of saliva at rest and after an intense 35-minute run. The participants also filled out a questionnaire about their diet, drinking and oral hygiene habits. The teeth and saliva of the groups were then compared.
The results showed that compared to the control group, athletes suffered significantly more tooth enamel erosion and more cavities.
More hours of training, more cavities.
The oral problems found in the athletes were older the more hours they trained.
No differences were found in the amount and chemical composition of saliva between athletes and control individuals at rest. But that situation changed when the athletes held the race.
During the races, the amount of saliva they produced progressively decreased, which means that your mouths they turned drierregardless of whether they consumed water or other beverages during training.
It found no relationship with the consumption of sports drinks or other elements of the athletes' diets.
The chemical composition of saliva also changed, becoming each time more alkaline. Excess alkalinity in saliva contributes to development of tartar plaques on teeth and other problems.
Frese C, Frese F, Kuhlmann S, Saure D, Reljic D, et al.Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports (2014). More information.
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