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Athletes Are More Likely to Have Poor Oral Health - Here’s why
This may sound shocking but a recent study, published in the British Dental journal found that despite the normal brushing and flossing routine, untreated tooth decay and gum inflammation was more common in athletes.
It was found that the reason behind why athletes are more susceptible to tooth decay is because they regularly refuel with highly acidic drinks, and energy bars which can weaken tooth enamel. The study that was conducted found that 49% of athletes had untreated tooth decay, and the majority of them had signs of gum inflammation. It was found that 94% of the athletes with teeth issues also admitted that they brush their teeth at least twice. This statistic proves that even with average brushing an athlete could get early signs of tooth decay if excessively taking highly acidic foods and sugary protein snacks.
What is the reason behind this?
“The acid in sports drinks and gels dissolves tooth enamel, a process called decalcification, and can lead to cavities. Once enamel dissolves, it does not come back. The loss and decay are permanent.” These sports drinks are also loaded with sugar which automatically doubles the chances of tooth decay. Can you believe that one 20-ounce Gatorade contains a whopping 34 grams of sugar? Often hydrating with these drinks cause an overload of sugar which weakens the tooth enamel and allows plaque to build up. It’s important to remember not to excessively drink Gatorade and other energy drinks but one with activity won’t hurt!
How does this concern orthodontic patients?
Athletes who receive orthodontic treatment should be aware to limit these things especially when wearing braces or aligners. For athletes wearing braces, visible white marks can gather around your brackets if gathered plaque is not removed. For athletes wearing aligners, the damage can occur because the acidic liquids and some sugars can stick into the aligners and sit against your teeth upon wearing them.
To Wrap Up
When in need for hydration, water is always the better choice. If not an option drinks with less acidic choices and sugars are way less aggressive on your teeth. Listerine, ACT, and other brands can also help with fluoride wash which has been found to be helpful for many. It is always important to visit your dentist or specialist twice a year to guarantee that your mouth stays clean and healthy. It is important for us to be aware with what we drink and if we stay active and need to hydrate water is the key to hydrate our bodies and not harm our bodies. Remember that soda, sweet tea, and some juices can have the same negative effects. Due to these effects it is necessary to restrict the amount of times we drink them.
Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Al or Dr. Reem any questions you may have about your oral health! We are always here to ensure that you have the best oral health care as well as enjoying your hobbies, sports, and living moderately☺
Dr. Al, Dr. Reem and your T.W.O Team
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