Why athletes get more cavities

While exercise may do a body good, it may do some harm to your oral health. A recent study in Europe of Olympic and professional athletes found that these elites have higher rates of tooth decay and gingivitis, despite having better oral hygiene than the general population.

Problems: One of the causes is excess sugar consumed in sports drinks, energy bars and energy gels during intense workouts. These sugars allow bacteria in the mouth to produce acid which causes enamel erosion. Unfortunately, elite athletes may also face an elevated risk of oral disease from a dry mouth (xerostomia) during intensive training as they breathe through the mouth.

Solutions:

  1. Drink water instead of sports drinks that contain sugar.
  2. Rinse out with water or drink water after eating something sugary, like an energy bar, until you can brush.
  3. Reduce dry mouth by staying hydrated.
  4. Take deep breaths to remain more calm. Relaxation and visualization can help reduce xerostomia that is the result of nervousness.
  5. Keep regular check ups with your dentist, at least every 6 months.

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