Runners usually score relatively high on most tests that have to do with good health. However, some recent studies have revealed that they are susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Several triathletes have revealed that higher endurance training increases the risks of enamel damage and bad teeth in runners. As a matter of fact, most dentists can tell if a person is a runner from the moment they open their mouth.
This is why it is essential to schedule several appointments with your dentist to look for early signs of tooth decay or worn-down enamel as a runner. Regular appointments with your dentist will help ensure that you can quickly notice and take care of minor problems before they evolve into much more damaging issues.
Why do your teeth hurt while running?
Tooth pain while running could be a sign of enamel erosion or exposure to the underlying dentin. This causes increased sensitivity to wind and cold drinks while you run.
Thankfully, dental clinics like the North Bramalea Dental are dedicated to helping runners manage their dental health and deal with such issues. There, you can get the comprehensive dental services and checkups you require to ensure that your dental health is at its peak.
What are the factors that lead to bad dental health in runners?
According to research results, several factors can cause poor oral health among runners. Some of them include:
1. Heavy consumption of sports drinks
Sports drinks usually serve as a source of energy and hydration for runners after strenuous workouts. Still, they have also been found to soften dentin, increase sensitivity and make teeth more susceptible to decay.
Drinking more water and less acidic beverages is always advisable because it reduces the risk of teeth damage.
2. Mouth breathing
Being a mouth breather means that your mouth would get dry more often. When there is less spit in your mouth, you are more prone to cavities because saliva washes debris away from the mouth and helps to neutralize excess acids from food. Thus, the absence of saliva makes the mouth become a habitable environment for decay-causing bacteria.
Thankfully, this risk can be reduced by drinking more water and focusing on breathing through the nose.
3. Excessive consumption of sugar
Some runners consume sugary gels and chewable to keep up their glucose levels during exercise. These sugary products also feed the bacteria that live in the mouth. While these bacteria dine, they produce acids that eat away at the teeth’ protective enamel. This can be prevented by drinking and washing your mouth with water immediately after the sugar ingestion.
4. Damaging Existing Dental Work
If you’ve had some dental work, protein bars in the past, sticky/crunchy chews can damage fillings and crowns because the cement holding them in place is a lot softer than the natural tooth and bone skeleton.
Runners would need to be careful with foods like this. It is advisable to consume softer natural foods that are healthier and safer for their stomach and teeth.
5. Using Teeth as Tools
While running, it is easy for runners to open snacks and power bars using their teeth, and this is a common factor that causes tooth fractures. Instead, it would be better to put snacks in easy to open bags that would not require the use of teeth so as not to risk damage to the teeth.
6. Teeth Grinding
Very active runners have been known to clench and grind their teeth together during challenging speed sessions. Over some time, this activity wears down the enamel and causes the temporomandibular joint disorder.
Dentists often create mouth guards to help with this condition, although runners don’t usually wear them when running for the sake of convenience. Runners can make a conscious effort to cope with this by relaxing their faces and shoulders to avoid tension. Staying relaxed can also help them run faster.
Wearing a nightguard to bed can help reduce the risk of wear on your teeth and also helps you wake up feeling refreshed.
7. Poor dental hygiene
Some runners often forget to include oral hygiene in their workouts. It is essential because of all the teeth damaging activities they may have engaged in during their runs, like consuming high sugar drinks and foods. The importance of brushing teeth after a run cannot be overemphasized. It is equally important to take care of your teeth and body at all times.
Being susceptible to poor dental health, runners must pay close attention to their teeth and ensure that they give them as much care as they give the rest of their bodies. The tips in this article will be of immense value to you.