Athletes May Be At Greater Risk Of Dental Problems
A study conducted by The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that intense exercise and endurance training may put athletes at greater risk of developing cavities and other dental problems. A previous study found that many athletes suffered from poor oral health, including higher levels of tooth decay, gum disease, and the erosion of tooth enamel (the hard, outer surface of a tooth). Researchers assumed that poor oral hygiene or consuming sugary sports drinks and energy bars was affecting their oral health. However, this most recent study indicates that the chemical composition of an athlete’s saliva changes during exercise, which may be influencing dental decay.
Saliva plays an important role in not only digestion, but washing away bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. You may produce less saliva during an intense workout, but researchers also found that athlete’s saliva became more alkaline the longer they exercised, which can contribute to the development of tartar and plaque.
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