Yes, it’s true that runners can be more at risk for dental problems than the rest of the population. A study of almost 300 athletes at the 2012 Olympics in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that a majority displayed “poor oral health”. As one of the best dentists in North Royalton we have some thoughts on this.
A Runner’s Diet
A runner’s diet is the cause of a lot of these problems. Their diet is vitally important as it helps them to perform and recover, but there can be major issues with it. Many of the energy drinks and gels runners use have incredibly high levels of sugar and acid, which causes tooth decay and erosion. This is also the case when using gels and chews for fueling your run. This can be fixed by rinsing your mouth out with water often, especially after consuming food or drink with high sugar or high acidic content. Brushing your teeth regularly and eating a healthy diet will also contribute to keeping your teeth healthy and cavity free.
Runners Are Mouth Breathers
Runners are heavy breathers and often most of their breathing is done through their mouth. This is totally normal but can can have a negative effect on their oral health as they’re gasping for oxygen. Breathing rapidly through the mouth reduces the saliva flow leading to dry mouth, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This can be fixed by drinking lots of water. If you are at a place in your workout or you run where you can’t drink lots of water rinsing will also help with having a dry mouth.
Keeping Your Teeth Strong
While you’re running it’s easy to want to open up that fuel packet with your teeth, but don’t do it! You’re just asking for trouble and a chipped tooth. Sticky chews and hard protein bars can also cause damage because of what they do to your teeth while you’re eating them. They can easily damage crowns and fillings that you’ve already had done. When possible stay away from these kinds of foods and snacks and opt for better options.
Keeping these issues in mind will help you to be able to maintain your running lifestyle as well as keeping your mouth healthy and strong. Consuming a healthy diet and brushing regularly is a good start. Visiting your dentist regularly will ensure that you don’t have any unwanted dental issues. But, because life happens and no one is perfect at dental hygiene sometimes you get cavities and have other concerns. You’ll want to visit your dental home when this occurs so you can stay on top of it and prevent any further damage. Contact North Royalton Family Dental today!