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Could Exercise Contribute To Declining Oral Health?

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According to a New York Times blog, ?Effect of endurance training on dental erosion, caries, and saliva? was published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine. Saliva was collected from a control group prior to and during exercising.

?Compared with the control group, the athletes showed significantly greater erosion of their tooth enamel. They also tended to have more cavities, with the risk increasing as an athlete?s training time grew. Over all, the more hours that an athlete spent working out, the more likely he or she was to have cavities.?

?During their experimental runs, the amount of saliva that they produced progressively lessened, meaning that their mouths became drier, regardless of whether they consumed water or other beverages during the workout. The saliva?s chemical composition also shifted, growing more alkaline as the workout continued. Excess alkalinity in saliva is thought to contribute to the development of tartar plaques on teeth and other problems.?

Even with the findings, the researchers urge that the results are not complete and further research would need to be conducted in order to fully understand the ramifications of oral health and athletes. 

?All we can say based on the data from this group is that prolonged endurance training might be a risk factor for oral health,? Dr. Cornelia Frese, senior dentist at University Hospital Heidelberg and research lead, said.

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