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Is Your Exercise Routine Harming Your Smile? Oral Health Information for Athletes

  • January 4, 2015

A solid exercise routine is an invaluable component of a healthy lifestyle. While athletes are typically in exceptional physical shape due to their regular fitness regimen, their teeth may actually be at a higher risk for oral health concerns. At LANAP & Implant Center of Pennsylvania in Collegeville, PA and Williamsport, PA, Dr. David DiGiallorenzo helps athletes from his community and the surrounding areas achieve and maintain healthy smiles with a variety of personalized oral health services.

Why do Athletes Have More Cavities?

The higher incidence of oral health complications in members of the athletic set has been common knowledge among dentists for some time now, but only recently did research uncover the reason behind the connection. Previously, it was thought that sugary sports drinks and energy bars might be the sole cause of cavities and gum disease in runners, but that hypothesis has since been disproven. While a diet high in carbohydrates can negatively affect the pH level in the mouth, the primary cause of dental concerns in athletes is actually related to saliva.

When two groups of men and women were recently tested – one a group of athletes and the other non-athletes – the researchers received some interesting results. The saliva of both groups was tested when the individuals were sitting at rest. There was no discernable difference between the saliva of the athletic participants and their non-athletic counterparts. When the athletes were sent out on a strenuous run, however, the results changed. It turned out that the longer the athletes ran, the more alkaline their mouths became. An alkaline environment within the mouth has already been correlated with a higher risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Also, the amount of saliva produced was decreased. A healthy amount of saliva is critical in the prevention of enamel erosion.

While the results of these studies should certainly not be taken as advice to alter your exercise routine, they should encourage athletes – particularly runners – to be more aware of their oral health. Regular visits to see Dr. DiGiallorenzo in Collegeville, PA or Williamsport, PA will ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy for life.

Healthy Smile, Healthy Body

Dr. DiGiallorenzo specializes in total body wellness as well as exceptional oral health. We can help you keep your smile looking and feeling its best even as your exercise endeavors improve the health and appearance of your body. Contact us today to schedule your appointment at LANAP & Implant Center of Pennsylvania, and discover the difference that a unique approach can make in your smile. We proudly serve patients in Williamsport, Collegeville, Lock Haven, Pottstown, Sunbury, Bloomberg, and more.