Athletes and Tooth Decay: Linked?

Exercise helps the body, but can it kill the teeth? A recent study indicates there is a connection between increased risk of tooth decay and athleticism. While some believe high-sugar sports drinks might be the problem, other studies argue that sports drinks are unrelated.

During workout routines, researchers noticed a problem with the way athletes produced saliva. Production of saliva decreased and the alkalinity increased. Saliva offers great protection to teeth enamel. A change in the amount or chemical composition could easily lead to the oral problems that were observed. The two changes created a greater risk of tartar, plaques and cavities.

Dr. Cornelia Frese, the dentist that led the study, has admitted that it is still early early in the research. The study group was restricted to hard-core athletes, and it might not apply to the general public and runners like my friend Brad Reifler. Nevertheless, it is a study for athletes to keep an eye on for any effects on their oral health.

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