No More Natural Teeth: Deciding Between Implants and Dentures

Three Possible Causes Of Dental Problems In Athletes

by Jeremiah Barnett

Many athletes suffer from poor oral health. In some cases, the problem is so serious that it affects their performances. Scientists have not unearthed all the reasons for this, but all the indications seem to point to:

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks contain both acid and sugar, two things that are both detrimental to oral health. According to WebMD, the acid erodes the enamel (protective layer of the teeth), which leaves them vulnerable to decay. The erosion of the enamel also leads to increased teeth sensitivity.

Apart from the erosion, which can be attributed to the acidic nature of the drink, the sugar also feeds the bacteria in your mouth. This increases your risk of dental decay, especially if you don't observe a high level of oral hygiene.

To prevent these negative effects, minimize the use of energy drinks. It is also useful to drink water each time you take an energy drink. This will dilute the remnants of the drink in your mouth. As for brushing, wait about half an hour after the drink so that you don't spread around the acids and erode your teeth.

Dehydration/Dry Mouth

Then there is also the issue of intense physical training that can lead to dehydration. Dehydration leads to decreased saliva production, and that is not good for your teeth. Your mouth is made even drier when you breathe through your mouth, something most people do when exercising. Saliva is necessary for good oral health because it:

  • Contain agents that fight germs on your teeth
  • Helps to secure dentures in place
  • Contains minerals that strengthen the enamel
  • Washes away oral debris that may cause teeth decay

Keep your mouth moist by:

  • Taking frequent sips of water
  • Avoiding mouth rinses that contain alcohol
  • Avoiding salty, dry foods
  • Using artificial saliva enhancers (ask your dentist for a recommendation)

High-Carbohydrate Diet

Finally, athletes are also prone to poor dental health due to their high-carbohydrate diet. Fermentable carbohydrates (such as those found in bread, cereals, and even bananas) break down in the mouth into simple sugars (sucrose, fructose, maltose, and glucose). When this happens, the bacteria feed on the resulting sugars and produce acids. It is the acids that damage your teeth by dissolving their enamel.

The more food stays in your mouth, the more it is broken down, and the more the bacteria feed on it. Therefore, you should brush your teeth and floss thoroughly every time you eat, especially if it is a high-carbohydrate meal.

Aside from the precautions hinted above, you should also have regular dental checkups through a company like Claremont Dental Institute. Even if you have a busy schedule with trainings and competitions, ensure that you include dental visits as one of your routines. If you don't, then you may develop poor oral health that may even impact your athletic performance.