Your dentist might know you are a runner from the moment you open your mouth. Running can be a tough sport for your oral health. A study of tri-athletes indicates that with intense endurance training there is a higher rate of cavities and enamel erosion.
High sugar consumption as a source of energy
Sports drinks, gels and chews used to fuel during the workout will also fuel bacteria found in the mouth. The bacteria will use the sugars to produce acid that corrodes tooth enamel.
The decay will show up as white chalky lines at the gum-line especially from constantly swilling sports drinks. Some runners have multiple dental cavities from placing energy bars in their cheeks.
Immediately swishing water in your mouth will help protect the teeth from sugars. Alternatively, gels with a thinner consistency won’t stick to teeth and are a preferred energy source during a workout.
Breathing through the mouth
The majority of runners are mouth breathers which makes the mouth dry out. The decreased saliva levels promote the formation of cavities. Saliva washes away food debris and keeps the tooth surfaces moist. Running and other physical activity makes saliva turn thick and sticky and therefore trapping sugars and acids that damage teeth.
Drinking lots of water or simply rinsing out the mouth helps to hydrate the body and restore the balance and normal composition of saliva.
Using teeth to open packets
Most runners will use their teeth to open energy bars and sports drinks. In so doing, they are making their teeth chip or even fracture from repeated use.
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