According to results from a new study, prolonged heavy training may not be good for dental health. The British Journal of Sports Medicine published an interesting study in 2013 concerning the oral health of 278 hardcore athletes participating in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Even though most of the athletes were from developed nations and had access to dentists and quality health resources, the majority of them had dental problems ranging from gum disease to tooth decay.
The reasons behind the athletes’ poor oral health were unclear, so German researchers set out to perform their own study. The results showed that the chemical composition and amount of saliva in an athlete’s mouth changed when they participated in strenuous exercise. High levels of alkalinity, which have been linked to poor dental health, built up in the athletes’ saliva as the workout continued.
However, while it may seem as if exercising in general can result in tooth decay and other problems, the athletes were devoted to high-intensity workout regimens that are far more strenuous than the average person would participate in. Frese went on to recommended taking precautions such as drinking water during workouts instead of sugary sports drinks, which may also be linked to poor dental health in athletes. Something Andrew Heiberger and I are going to have to start adopting. She also suggested that serious athletes should consider seeing dentists who specialize in sports dentistry.