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The Effects of Exercise on Your Teeth

The January 2015 issue of AUSTIN FIT MAGAZINE posted an article “The Effects of Exercise on Your Teeth”

“According to a surprising 2014 study published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, regular exercise may not be so good for one unexpected area of your body: your teeth.

One might guess that sugary sports drinks and energy bars have something to do with it, but scientists say the cause of increased reports of poor dental health among athletes is actually due to their saliva.

Researchers recruited 35 competitive triathletes and 35 age and gender-matched healthy adults who were not athletes to undergo oral examinations and have samples of their saliva taken.

They found no differences in the amount or chemical makeup of the two groups’ saliva.

That situation changed, however, when the athletes worked out.  During their 35-minute test runs, the amounts of saliva produced progressively lessened.  Regardless of whether the athletes consumed water or other beverages during the workout, their mouths became drier, and the saliva’s chemical composition shifted – growing more alkaline as the workout continued.  (Excess alkalinity in saliva is thought to contribute to the development of tartar plaques on the teeth and other problems.)

Since saliva serves as a protective function for teeth, having less of it or a chemically different version during exercise could be problematic, said Cornelia Frese, a senior dentist at University Hospital Heidelberg, who led the study.

Based on the data, Dr. Frese said, “All we can say is that prolonged endurance training might be a risk factor for oral health.””

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Posted in: Dental, General Dental Information, General Health

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