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Athletes and Oral Health: Why Do Runners Have More Cavities?

January 23, 2015

78459279A regular fitness regimen is a vital component of any healthy lifestyle, but do you know how your time at the gym impacts your oral health? At Highland Village Family Dentistry in Highland Village, TX, Dr. Ryan Thomas and his team encourage all of our patients to live as healthily as possible, and this includes offering patient education regarding all aspects of oral health. Today, we’d like to take a moment to share the results of an interesting study recently published in a Scandinavian scientific journal about the link between exercise and tooth decay.

Incidence of Tooth Decay Higher in Runners

According to a 2014 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, athletes (particularly runners) tend to have more cases of tooth decay and enamel erosion than non-athletes. One of the primary reasons for this is diet; athletes commonly consume foods and beverages that are high in carbohydrates. A high-carb diet has been linked to a reduced pH level in the mouth, an issue that leads to an increased risk for cavities.

Another common concern for athletes is decreased production of saliva. Saliva protects the teeth from acidic bacteria, and when there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth, tooth decay risk increases. Because most runners tend to breathe through their mouths, the problem is compounded in situations of strenuous exercise.

While we would certainly never advise that our athletic patients abstain from their regular fitness routines, we do recommend that those who run regularly see Dr. Thomas for general dentistry checkups and thorough cleanings.

Special Dental Care for Athletes

At Highland Village Family Dentistry, our team places an immense amount of emphasis on not only your oral health, but your overall physical wellness, too. That’s why we are always happy to talk with you about ways to improve the health of your smile in a way that benefits your general well-being.

If you are an athlete and you are curious as to how your workout routine may be affecting your oral health, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a visit with Dr. Thomas and our team. We can develop a treatment strategy that is customized to suit your unique needs in a way that complements your lifestyle. Our Highland Village, TX dental office warmly welcomes families from nearby communities in North Dallas, including Lantana, Flower Mound, Lewisville, Argyle, Plano, Frisco, The Colony, and more.

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