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Is Your Fitness Routine be Harming your Teeth?

Posted on October 13th, 2022

Being healthy is important for many reasons. Research has connected many systemic issues to obesity: heart disease, stroke, arthritis, sleep disorders, diabetes, gout, cancer, and more. Recent studies have also linked obesity to gum disease! While your doctor or dentist would never discourage you from reaching your goal weight or BMI, there are a few things related to fitness that can harm your oral health. If you are continuing, or just beginning a fitness journey, know of the following ways your fitness routine could harm your teeth. 

Poor Oral Health in Elite Athletes

A comprehensive study of elite athletes concluded: 

“This is the first large representative sample study of oral health in athletes from different sports at an elite level. Although experience of oral disease differs by sport, the prevalence, in UK elite and professional athletes, is substantial, with common selfreported performance impacts. Regular screening and use of effective oral health promotion strategies may minimize performance impacts from poor oral health.”

Athletes experienced high rates of tooth decay and gum disease even though their oral hygiene routines were better than the average American. In this study, researchers looked to the diets of the athletes to explain the higher than normal incidents of oral disease.

High Carbohydrate, High-Sugar Diet

Because the oral hygiene routines of the studied athletes were good, researchers turned to other risk factors: diet and dry mouth. They said: “Nutrition in sports is heavily reliant on frequent carbohydrate intakes, which increase inflammation in the body and gum tissues.” Also, when athletes are engaged in intense training, often airflow increases, drying out the mouth. Dry mouth is a risk factor for dental caries. 

What this Means for You

Even if you aren’t an elite athlete, you can still put your oral health at more risk by taking part in health-related activities. Consuming Gels on long runs or drinking sports drinks to hydrate, can put you at higher risk for tooth decay and enamel erosion. These products are acidic and have high levels of sugar. Pre-workout powders can contain caffeine (dry mouth) and can be acidic. If you embark on a fitness journey or are a self-proclaimed gym rat, good for you! Living a healthy lifestyle will improve many health markers. However, it’s important to know of the negative side effects of a fitness lifestyle, especially on your oral health.

If you would like to discuss a healthy diet for your teeth, Caring Tree Children’s Dentistry’d love to chat!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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