Athletes tend to be the picture of physical human perfection, but that is not always the case, especially when analyzing their oral health. There are multiple contributing factors to this, but here are just a few.
For starters, athletes at a high level who don’t participate in the major sports are less likely to have access to dental insurance plans. Athletes who train and compete in the fringe sports spend their time training and are not provided dental insurance by their employers. Additionally, if they are not a top level performer, they are typically not provided with health insurance by their sport’s governing body.
Next on the list of reasons is the amount of sugary sports drinks athletes consume over the course of training. It makes sense that drinks high in sugar and acid would erode an athlete’s teeth faster than water, and without access to proper dental care, athletes run a higher risk of damaging their teeth through the consumption of these sports drinks.
Lastly, there is a study recently released by Scandinavian researchers that points to an altogether different hypothesis. The researchers believe that the pH level of athletes’ saliva is to blame for their poor dental health. In the course of their study, the researchers found that athlete’s saliva was more alkaline than that of an average person. Additionally, the researchers noticed that athletes produce less saliva while they are training. This is troubling because there is a protein in saliva that aids in the prevention of tooth erosion. Finally, the researchers also noted that athletes were at a higher risk of tooth erosion than the average person as a result of their strenuous workout patterns.
Athlete or not, consuming acidic or sugary drinks is an issue for dental health. Be sure to brush twice a day and take proper care of your teeth. If you have any questions about the best dental practices—especially if you have braces or Invisalign—call Dr. Frost today at (314) 567-1888 or fill out our online form here.