As an athlete, you have been taught about the importance of discipline when it comes to training and taking care of your general health. This includes working out, keeping your body in top shape, and making sure your body gets all the nutrients that are needed to sustain itself. One of the health concerns that are often overlooked is oral and dental health, and sadly, it can lead to severe consequences for many athletes. Here are a few things you need to know about your habits that may seem to be good for your body but are actually harmful to your teeth.
Drinking Sugary Sports Drinks
Sugar is another cause of tooth decay and deterioration in athletes. The problem with sugary and starchy foods is that they stick to the enamel, forming a film that is known as plaque. The bacteria in the mouth break down this plaque, leading to acidity, which erodes the enamel and dentine. Athletes who eat too much sugar and starch often end up with corroded teeth. If you have trouble drinking water, try lightly flavoring it with fruit!
Eating Acidic Foods
The enamel, which coats the teeth is composed of many minerals, with the most prominent ones being calcium and phosphate. When you drink fluids that have a pH of less than 5.5, you risk weakening and dissolving this layer of the teeth. Most sports drinks have a pH of 2.4 to 4.5, which makes them acidic and very bad for your teeth. If you must drink these drinks, make sure that you brush your teeth afterward to minimize the time that your teeth will be in contact with the acids. Also, the frequent sipping of these drinks makes it harder for saliva to neutralize the acidity in the drinks, which leads to an increased risk for tooth corrosion. It is best to drink these soft drinks in one sitting if you have to, using a straw to keep the liquid away from your teeth. Instead, just drink more water.
Neglecting Your Teeth While Caring for Your Body
Other products that contribute a lot to tooth decay include gels and lollies that most athletes like popping in their mouth as they work out. It is essential to pay attention to your habits and avoid anything which could lead to the damage and loss of your teeth. Many people don’t realize that poor oral hygiene can result in severe health issues such as heart disease, respiratory disease, infertility, and diabetes. Staying healthy and fit through visits to the gym will all be undone if you don’t take proper care of your teeth, so make it a priority in your health regimen. You can do this by making dental visits a habit at least once every six months, replace sugary and acidic drinks with water, and brushing your teeth at least twice a day with an electric toothbrush.
These are a few of the habits that lead to early tooth decay and loss among athletes. Like your post-workout protein shake, it’s important to have a routine and stick to it when it comes to tooth care. After all, when you’re working so hard to take care of the rest of your body, it only makes sense to take care of your gums and teeth, too.
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