Can endurance sports ruin your teeth? According to research published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, the answer is yes. Scientists studied marathon runners and triathletes and discovered that they all have one thing in common: their teeth and dental health was, across the board, pretty bad. How and why does this happen?
What Does Running Have To Do With Teeth?
“While training, triathletes and runners consume a lot of carbs — specifically sports drinks, bars, and gels — which can lower the mouth’s pH level and lead to tooth erosion and cavities. Also, they breathe heavily through their mouths during training, and that can dry out teeth-protecting saliva,” Glamour magazine writes. Matters may be even worse, too. Sports drinks aren’t only packed with carbs and high concentrations of sugar — they also contain citric and phosphoric acid. Both of these acids erode tooth enamel, ultimately making cavities, tooth decay, and premature tooth loss vastly more likely.
Are Runners Doomed To Have Poor Dental Health And Rough-Looking Smiles?
With all of that said, serious athletes may think that cosmetic dental treatments, cosmetic dental surgery, and/or affordable dental implants are — inevitably — in their future. This is not necessarily true. There are plenty of things that runners can do to counteract the the consequences of carb-loading. “Chew gum when you can to increase salivary flow and neutralize the bacteria in your mouth. The gum should contain xylitol,” The Huffington Post recommends. If it comes to it, three million Americans already have affordable dental implants — and that number is growing. Dental implants serve as complete smile makeovers. The titanium implants and porcelain crowns look and feel like natural teeth and can last a lifetime with proper care.
If you are marathon runner or serious athlete, be aware that training may have significant consequences when it comes to your teeth. Keep your smile healthy with regular brushing and flossing, and chew gum to help reduce bacteria.