Jogging May Not Be So Innocent for Dental Health

JoggingEndurance runners could be damaging their smile while they are jogging. This is suggested by the new research published in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. According to the study, runners are more likely to have higher risks of tooth erosion and cavities compared to people who don’t run.

Running has lots of health benefits but it looks like endurance sport can harm athletes’ teeth because of high consumption of carbohydrate as well as dry mouth, which is the lack of saliva in the mouth that leaves the teeth vulnerable to decay.

According to the report, a team of German dental researchers found out triathletes have higher rate of tooth decay than non-athletes. Athletes who have more weekly training suffer from more cavities than those who had less training sessions.

The researchers looked at 35 experienced triathletes as well as 35 people who didn’t exercise regularly. The athletes trained around 10 hours per week with a mix of swimming, running and cycling. The researchers checked for tooth erosion and cavities. They also got a saliva test while exercising and while resting.

Based on the survey, 46 percent of triathletes drank sports drinks while training and 51 percent consumed only water. 74 percent of them ate bars or gels. Athletes who trained regularly had the most cavities compared to those who don’t.

The triathletes consumed a lot of carbohydrates that included gels, bars, and sports drinks during their training. These lower the pH level below 5.5. This leads to dental erosion and cavities. Athletes also breathe through the mouth during hard exercise and it gets dry. They produce less saliva that protects the teeth.

The drop in saliva flow as well as the increase in saliva pH levels increases the risks for cavities. Saliva acts as the natural cleansing agent of the mouth that breaks down food particles and rinses the mouth. When saliva production is limited, it creates a buildup of cavity causing bacteria as well as bad breath.

Photo by Mike Baird

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