Endurance Athletes May be More Prone to Tooth Erosion & Cavities

Effect of Endurance Training on Dental Erosion

A recent study evaluated 35 triathletes who trained at least five hours per week and 35 non-exercising individuals. The participants completed a questionnaire, providing their age, gender, height, body weight, oral hygiene practices and weekly training schedules. They also provided information on beverages they drank and sports nutrition products used during training. All participants had clinical oral exams and had saliva output and pH testing during inactivity. Fifteen athletes also had saliva assessments during exercise. The pH of swimming pools used for triathletes training was also factored into the data.

The Effects of Physical Training & Use of Sports Drinks

The use of sports drinks and nutrition lower the pH of athletes saliva to levels where dental erosion can occur. Longer training time is consistent with a higher intake of carbohydrate sports bar, gels and drinks and this might cause higher risk for caries.  Athletes breath through their mouth during hard exercise and their mouth gets dry. If they consume sports nutrition/drinks at this moment saliva protection might be diminished. Athletes need special oral health regimen and use of fluoride containing toothpaste is important. The fluoride in the toothpaste increases the resistance of tooth hard tissue against carries and erosive challenges.

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