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Extreme Exercise can hurt your Teeth, Researchers Stated

Update Date: Sep 25, 2014 11:47 AM EDT
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Exercise is good for the body and mind. Even though exercise is an important part of life, a new study is reporting that too much extreme exercise might actually be detrimental to the teeth.

In this study, the team, made up of researchers from the dental school at the University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany and other institutions, recruited 70 adults, with half of the being competitive triathletes that trained for a mean time of nine hours per week. The other half acted as the control.

Each participant received a full oral examination, which included a saliva test. The participants also filled out a questionnaire about their exercise routine, diet and oral hygiene habits. In one part of the examination, the team instructed 15 athletes to run for 35 minutes on an outdoor track. The difficulty of the run increased as time passed by. Saliva samples were collected several times.

The researchers discovered that athletes had greater tooth enamel erosion and more cavities in comparison to non-athletes. The risk of developing cavities was positively correlated with the athletes' training time. There was no link between the consumption of sports drinks and oral health. Diet also did not affect oral health.

In terms of saliva samples, the only difference the team found was between the saliva collected during a work out and saliva collected at resting state. When the athletes were running, they produced a lower amount of saliva, which meant that their mouths were drier regardless of whether or not the athletes drank something. The saliva that they produced also had more alkaline in comparison to the saliva produced at the resting state, which can contribute to the growth of tartar plaques on the teeth.

 "We had thought sports drinks and nutrition might have the most detrimental influence on dental decay...but we saw no direct link," lead investigator, Dr. Cornelia Frese, a senior dentist at University Hospital Heidelberg, said according to New York Times. "All we can say is that prolonged endurance training might be a risk factor for oral health."

The study, "Effect of endurance training on dental erosion, caries, and saliva," was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Sciences in Sports

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