New research from Germany has suggested that extended periods of exercise could be damaging to your teeth; the study found that the longer athletes exercised, the less saliva they produced, which causes a higher level of alkaline saliva in the mouth. The results showed that for every hour of training each week, the risk of tooth decay increased.
In the past it has been suggested that athletes have bad teeth because of the sugary sports drinks that they consume while exercising but The Times has reported that there was no link between sports drinks and tooth erosion, according to this study at least. Scientists have theorised that running could reduce the protein in saliva that protects the enamel, so drinking water could also exacerbate the problem.
However, a senior dentist at the University Hospital Heidelberg, which ran the study, said that the link between exercise and decay ‘was not strong enough to imply causation’. She added that athletes and people who run regularly should look after their teeth better to make sure that they don’t develop cavities, saying ‘there is a need for exercise-adjusted oral hygiene regimes and nutritional modifications in the field of sports dentistry.’