How Extreme Exercise Affects Your Teeth
Exercise is important for overall health. But overdoing it may not do the body good. Several recent studies have uncovered that too much extreme exercise might actually be harmful to oral health.
One study found that athletes had more cavities and enamel erosion than non-athletes. In addition, the number of cavities increased with increases in training time. This study also assessed the level of saliva during active and resting states, and found athletes had less saliva while they were running than when they were at rest, which meant that their mouths were dryer no matter if they drank fluids or not.
Other studies have uncovered two other factors that lead to dental problems in athletes. These include drinking large amounts of sports drinks and improper breathing.
Many people believe that drinking sports drinks during exercise is healthy and good for you due to replenishing electrolyte levels that are lost as you sweat. But this is far from accurate. Though the processed salt does help to restore electrolytes, this method is not a good idea.
These drinks contain large amounts of sugar, which feed the bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay. In addition, while exercising people often drink small sips of these drinks continuously over a long stretch of time, which prolongs the time that sugar is in contact with their teeth.
Minimize your consumption of sports drinks, and if you do use them, be sure to get a dental exam and cleaning regularly to monitor your oral health. If you are an athlete and want to restore your electrolytes, there are better hydration options.
• Coconut water, which contains natural electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
• Water with a pinch of natural, unprocessed salt.
Breathing heavy through your mouth reduces saliva and causes dry mouth, which allows harmful bacteria to flourish. Instead, try to breathe through your nose to minimize mouth dryness.
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