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Dental Tips for Endurance Athletes

Gear to dominate the Vineman

You may know that Sandy dentist Dr. Conklin is a passionate endurance athlete, as he recently completed the Vineman Ironman 70.3 triathlon last July. Many patients share the same enthusiasm for fitness and overall health care. But most endurance athletes do not consider the do’s and don’ts of oral care as part of their regimen during training season and on race day.

Long periods of training can cause metabolic events in the body that can reduce salivary flow. Saliva is a great aspect of oral health because it has a cleaning effect and helps remove unwanted food particles from the mouth. When saliva flow is reduced, the overall mouth can become more acidic, and a high acidic environment can cause tooth decay and loose of tooth structure. This happens because of a bacterial acid production. Dentists now think that tooth decay can happen due to many different types of bacteria.

Endurance drinks and sports gels often have a low pH in them, which means that they contain citric acid which can bind calcium. This is a problem when acid dissolves calcium on the teeth. To make sure your favorite sports activities don’t interfere with your oral care routine, consult Dr. Conklin at your next appointment. There are many tests available to help you determine the amount of risk based on your bacterial biofilm.

Here are some tips to help you keep your teeth clean on race day.

Pack the night before – Set out your toothbrush the night before, the same way you set out all of your gear.

Pack gum – Chewing gum will keep your mouth fresh while you race.

Bring extra water – Bringing an extra water bottle will help you wash away food particles after you eat.

Smile – There is nothing like swimming, biking then running your way to victory. Make sure you smile your way through the fun event.

Dr. Conklin can also advise you related to use of sport drink and maintaining dental health.  The goal should be to enjoy the health benefits of endurance sports and not compromise dental health.


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