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Athletes & Cavities: Do Runners Have More Oral Health Problems?

February 10, 2015

It’s a well-known fact that men and women who run on a regular basis tend to be slimmer and physically healthier than their non-athletic counterparts. Running is wonderful for cardiovascular health, and it helps to build lean muscle mass in the legs and back when done properly. But have you ever considered how your regular workout might be affecting your teeth? At JL Dental in Arnold, MO, Drs. Jonathan and Laura Mears strive to help each and every one of their patients live healthy, happy lives. Today, we’d like to talk about something we believe all athletes – runners, in particular – should keep in mind to maintain healthy, beautiful smiles.

New Study Reveals Reason for Cavities in Runners

A recent study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports discovered a link between frequent strenuous exercise and an increased incidence of tooth decay and enamel erosion. The German researchers found that the cause for the higher number of dental caries in runners was twofold.

First, athletestend to breathe through their mouths when exercising heavily. This leads to a more arid environment, leaving teeth to fend off attacks by acid-producing bacteria without the protective barrier usually supplied by saliva. Secondly, a diet that is high in carbohydrates – such as those found in energy bars and sports drinks – has been found to contribute to cavities. Fortunately, with proper home hygiene, plenty of water, and regular visits to our office, even the most active athletes can enjoy optimal oral health for life.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

At JL Dental, we understand that cardiovascular exercise is a fundamental component of a healthy lifestyle, and we’d never dream of discouraging our patients from following a doctor-approved fitness regimen. We would, however, like to remind those of our patients who run on a regular basis that their smiles require extra care in order to stay healthy. With general dentistry solutions designed with your health, comfort, and convenience in mind, we can help you keep your mouth safe from decay and disease. Contact us today to schedule your next visit to our Arnold, MO family dental practice, and learn more about how diet and exercise affect your oral health. We are also happy to serve patients from throughout the surrounding areas, including Imperial, Oakville, Barnhart, and beyond. 

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