Research has verified that virtually every single human endeavor can in some way prove harmful to your health. It was only a matter of time before scientists got around to exercise.
Yet recent research indicates that regular physical fitness, despite its myriad health benefits, may contribute to dental health problems including premature teeth enamel erosion, tooth decay and gum disease.
Athletes and Dental Health Problems
In a 2009 study of Olympic athletes, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) learned that about one-third of its athletes suffered from premature tooth erosion. Last year, a survey of athletes who competed in the 2012 summer Olympics found that more than three-quarters had periodontal disease and nearly half had cavities and enamel loss.
The IOC stated that the oral health problems “may be an indicator of excessive use of sports beverages,” which often contain substantial sugar and are highly acidic. But a team of German researchers, who recently published the findings of another study into the connection between athletes and oral health, arrived at a different conclusion.
The German dentists studied saliva samples from 15 triathletes before, during and after exercise; they found that the longer the athletes were engaged in training, the less saliva they produced and the more alkaline their saliva became. Highly alkaline saliva is believed to foster the growth of the plaque bacteria that lead to tooth decay, much as the consumption of acidic, sugary beverages like sports drinks and sodas.
Don’t Stop Exercising!
Couch potatoes are warned not to rejoice at these findings. The research is not substantial enough to imply exercise as a direct cause of tooth decay and gum disease, and the benefits of routine physical fitness far outweigh the risks.
Exercise helps you control your weight, improve your mood and boost your energy. Regular exercise also promotes quality sleep and can help prevent the onset of severe health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, depression and some types of cancer.
If you live in the Austin, Texas, area and you’re seeking a knowledgeable, compassionate dentist, please contact Dr. Dan Matthews online or call our dental office at 512-452-2273. Dr. Matthews offers exceptional cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry treatments designed to provide you with a beautiful, healthy smile.