Why It’s Harder for Athletes to Prevent Cavities

Endurance athletes put their bodies through a lot in order to get in proper shape and condition for marathons, triathlons, and other main sporting events. The training period can often be brutal, and while your body may be at its peak fitness at the end, your teeth may not be so strong and healthy. Studies show that, when working out intensely, athletes are at a significantly higher risk for tooth-decaying cavities. Experts owe the phenomenon to a combination of increased risk factors, such as poor dental nutrition and weaker natural defenses, and warn athletes to pay special attention to their dental health when training.

Athletes, Sports Drinks, Carbs, and Cavities

To keep up with the pace of training, endurance athletes consumecopious amounts of carbohydrates in the form of sports drinks, protein powders, shakes, energy bars, and larger, more frequent meals. Unfortunately, your body isn’t the only thing that consumes carbs; so do the bacteria that live in your mouth and dwell in sticky dental plaque. When some of these germs metabolize carbohydrates, they turn it into acids that erode the protective enamel around teeth. The more you consume, the more acids bacteria produce, and the weaker your tooth enamel becomes. Before long, increased enamel erosion will leave teeth vulnerable to infectious oral bacteria, and cavities (holes) will form as the bacteria erode the tooth’s main structure.

Tips to Keep Teeth Physically Fit

·         Water is an essential component when working out, but it’s often substituted for more flavorful sports and energy drinks. To reduce your risk of cavities, drink more water more often; it naturally rinses away bacteria and neutralizes the acids they produce. Water will also help prevent dry mouth, or decreased saliva flow, which can create a hospitable environment for harmful bacteria to grow.
·         Since you have to eat more, try to brush and floss your teeth more often. About 30 minutes after each meal would be ideal, allowing acids to dissipate and your teeth’s enamel to regain a portion of its strength before you subject it to the rigors of brushing.
·         Make routine visits to your dentist an important routine. Because of the additional risk to your dental health, you may have to attend dental checkups and cleanings more than the regularly-recommended twice a year. To strengthen teeth, Dr. Smith can recommend topical fluoride treatments, which fortifies enamel by thickening its weaker layers.


Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.