Excessive exercise negatively affects dental health of athletes, study warns

Published 23.08.2019 22:32
Updated 24.08.2019 11:29
emReuters File Photo/em
Reuters File Photo

Excessive exercise has a negative effect on dental health, as half of the elite-athletes included in a recent U.K.-based study turned out to have tooth decay despite implementing necessary steps for oral care.

Doctor Julie Gallagher, a researcher at University College London, and her team examined the data received from 352 Olympic and professional athletes who received health scans from June 2015 to September 2016.

The results of the study which were published in the British Dental Journal showed that the athletes had high rates of dental problems, even though they brushed their teeth twice a day on average and visited their dentists regularly.

According to the research, the reason is the relentless intake of sports drinks, energy gels and bars which are all high in sugar. Intensive exercise may also prompt changes in saliva and the immune system that further exacerbate the damage, the study suggested.

Gallagher said that they found that a majority of the athletes included in the survey already have good oral health-related habits in as much as they brush their teeth twice a day, visit the dentist regularly, don't smoke and have a healthy general diet, "However, they use sports drinks, energy gels, and bars frequently during training and competition."

"The (amounts of) sugar in these products increases the risk of tooth decay and the acidity of them increases the risk of erosion," Gallagher noted.

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