Newington Dental Athlete Advice
It may be a surprise to some that athletes tend to have poor dental health. Given how much athletes emphasis good health we might expect them to go to great lengths to look after their teeth. But even the athletes who are thorough about cleaning and flossing teeth still perform under expectation when it comes to dental hygiene. So what is the explanation?
Athletes don’t usually smoke or eat junk food (as we understand it) to any significant degree. But there are aspects of their training and lifestyle that compromise their dental health.
This is possibly the main culprit. Athletes over the last 20 years have picked up on the sports drinks trend. They also tend to use energy gels and energy bars. These products contain far more sugar than is generally known. And when they consume these products before a game or training, the sugar stays on their teeth for several hours. Brushing the teeth a few hours latter will not help, it is too late. The sugar has already done the damage. Professional athletes who train or compete several days a week may be steadily ruining their teeth every time they take a sports drink.
Heavy exertion will cause a dry mouth, especially if we start breathing through the mouth when running or training in any fashion. The dry mouth leads to increased bacteria, and this badly affects teeth and gums. Using a sports drink only makes matters worse as the sugar feeds the bad bacteria.
Using water instead of sports drinks would go a long way to reducing, perhaps preventing, the problem.
While swimming will not give us a dry mouth it will cause problems because of the chlorinated water. Water that is un-chlorinated tend to be just as bad, being made unclean by the many people swimming. This is hard to prevent. We cannot completely avoid swallowing water when we swim. But gargling clean water (bottled water) afterwards will help to some degree.
Talk to your dentist about preventing dental problems. We encourage a proactive approach.