Runners’ Oral Health

The shocking facts about oral health of Athletes.


The shocking facts of oral health in runners are in! Here they are, as highlighted by the Scandinavian scientific Journal Of Medicine and Science ,


1. High Carb Diets

High carb diets in runners lead to enamel erosion, tooth decay and increased risk of cavities. 46% of athletes consume high energy bars and other foods, before, during and after training. Athletes tend to select these foods to provide ready and increased energy for their work out. The carbohydrates in these foods unlike other nutrients begin breaking down to simple sugars in the mouth. This effectively increases the number of bacteria in the oral cavity which in turn increases the risk of dental caries.


2. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks increase the risk of dental erosion. Endurance athletes also consume a lot of acidic drinks again with the purpose of providing their bodies with ready energy for their workout, as well as replacing electrolytes lost in sweating.The consumption of acidic drinks changes the pH levels within the mouth, making it more acidic. This promotes an optimal environment for the demineralization of tooth enamel.A study of the Ohio State University found that dental erosion increased with ingesting sports and other acidic drinks. In this study athletes said they drank at least one liter of sports drinks daily. That study also indicated that 36.5% of the athletes exhibited dental erosion where the enamel and dentin were compromised.


3. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth results in runners who mainly breathe through the mouth. The result – lower amounts of saliva which wash away acid causing bacteria means a higher risk of cavities. Saliva provides a biofilm which coats the surface of teeth. Increased activity decreases the amount of saliva in the mouth as well as increase the acidity in the mouth. Heightened risks for the erosion of teeth as well as the formation of cavities result.


4. Poor Hygiene

Some athletes have poor hygiene practices. This compound the risk of dental caries and erosion along with heavily drinking sports drinks and eating health bars and gels.

5.The use of pre-workout supplements

The use of pre-workout supplements by athletes may be counter-productive to the overall health. Taking pre-workout supplements have been found to be another practice which do not in the long run improve the overall health. The use of these supplements may not affect the dental health of athletes but may however put increased stress on cardiovascular systems promoting an adverse event.


Oral Tips for Athletes


The first and most important tip for athletes in achieving and maintaining good oral health is to have good oral practices. This entails brushing teeth at least twice per day, the use of dental floss and dental washes. In combination with this, bi-annual visits to the dentist helps to ensure that things are kept in check while providing deep cleaning of the mouth.


Dr. Vadivel T Kumar DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-Certified Periodontist of Implants & Gumcare can provide this service for athletes. He and his team can also provide the necessary education needed for athletes to maintain good oral practices. With offices in Grapevine and Carrollton, Texas, new patients are provided with free 3D CAT Scan if this is deemed necessary.


Dr Kumar and his team can provide the necessary service and consultations necessary if more than cleaning is required. Call us today at 214-731-0123 for a free consultation. Exercise is great in helping to promote healthy bodies and lifestyle.


However, this healthy lifestyle will also include having to make healthy choices in what we eat. Drinking water during and after intense activates as well as drinking low carb drinks is recommended.


This also addresses dry mouth or xerostomia. Speaking with the dentist about recommendations for xylitol gum as well as prescription strength fluoride is also another recommendation to address xerostomia.


Research on pre-workout supplements are advisable as a number of these supplements found on shelves are not monitored by the FDA. Pre-workout supplements are known to have ingredients such as caffeine which when absorbed have adverse effects such as palpitations, restlessness, dizziness, irritability, and insomnia.


Other ingredients in pre-workout supplements may also give feeling of being cold, fatigue and lightheadedness.

As an athlete it is important to know the extent of how far to push the body in the various activities.


It is also important to make healthy choices and practices to maintain not just the health of the body but also to maintain good dental health. Having a chat with the dentist or dental hygienist will provide information for best practice and maintaining good overall health.