Exercise and Poor Oral Health – Are They Connected?

It’s pretty clear that exercise is beneficial to our bodies, but recent studies are suggesting that excessive exercise could, in fact, be bad for our oral health.

Results have been published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports suggesting that there could be a connection between prolonged exercise and our dental health problems.

Modern Dental stretching

Survey Says…

Dr. Cornelia Frese, a senior dentist at the University Hospital Heidelberg, who led the study, states that the changes in our saliva during exercise seem to have the most impact on athletes oral health.

The study was conducted by assessing saliva of 35 competitive triathletes and then compared them to a control group of 35 healthy adults that were not athletes. They’re ages and genders correlating.

Saliva samples along with full oral examinations and a complete questionnaire about their diets, oral hygiene and exercise habits were gathered at the study.

Athletes were asked to complete a vigorous outdoor run for 35-minutes at which time saliva samples were taken.

Findings were surprising when it came time to compare them to the controlled group. The athletes were shown to have significantly more tooth enamel erosion, as well as cavities.

It is believed that during the athletes run, saliva production slowed down and the chemical composition shifted to become more alkaline. Alkaline excessiveness within our salvia has been known to cause various issues such as tartar development.

Modern Dental man running

Dr. Frese explains that saliva “has a very protective function” for teeth; therefore, having less of it or a chemically different version during exercise, could be problematic. However, she also notes that the study was small and largely “unrepresentative” of the average person’s exercise habits. All that can be concluded, she advised, is that “prolonged endurance training might be a risk factor for oral health.”

Good to Know!

It’s good to know the things that can impact our overall oral health but if you’re not prone to excessive workouts you don’t have too much to worry about in this case!

Continue to brush and floss regularly and follow up with your Boise dentist on routine appointments to keep good oral health! And if it’s that time again and you need to schedule your next check up, give our dental team in South East Boise a call and we’ll get you taken care of.

~Dr. Wagner