When asked about the biggest threats to your teeth, candy and other sugary foods would probably be among the top responses. But did you know that some aspects of working out can also impact your smile? Read this account of Jack’s college athletic career and see how his decisions jeopardized his smile.
Growing up in Mississauga, Ontario, Jack had always loved playing sports. Although he dabbled in basketball and hockey, Jack’s real passion was soccer, which is one of Canada’s most popular sports. For all of his high school years, Jack played the forward position, occasionally scoring the most goals on his team. However, as he entered college, he developed different priorities and chose not to play sports.
As Jack’s junior year at the University of Toronto Mississauga approached, he regretted not keeping up with his soccer skills. Full of renewed motivation, Jack decided he’d train harder than ever to make the team. He hit the gym five times a week, running for cardio, lifting weights, and replenishing his energy with health bars and Gatorade. Within a week, Jack saw some of his muscle return, and after three, he had six-pack abs again, just like in his high school days.
Jack kept up with his training throughout the summer, obsessed with the athletic gains he was achieving. The intense training would dry out his mouth, but he had his favorite sports drink within arms reach. Jack was noticing something else as well – toothaches were becoming more common. “Why am I leaving the gym with a toothache?” Jack thought to himself. Once the pain started to interfere with his workouts, Jack went to Dr. Ralhan to get to the root of the problem.
Jack’s first mistake was choosing to replenish his energy with so-called health snacks which are almost always loaded with sugar. By depending on them during tough workouts, Jack was giving his teeth a lot of exposure to this cavity-causer. If Jack chose water and a low-sugar snack, his teeth wouldn’t have suffered as they had.
Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense system – it washes debris from the teeth and plays a role in keeping the mouth fresh and clean. Jack’s intense cardio was causing him to breathe through his mouth, drying up the saliva in his mouth. With the sugar from health snacks combined with no saliva to wash it from the teeth, this created a perfect environment for tooth decay.
Sports drinks are marketed as must-haves for anyone who works out, touting their ability to replenish electrolytes with their colorful, attention-grabbing flavors. But these sports drinks often have an excessive amount of sugar, gradually bathing the teeth in it with each sip. Instead, it’s far better to get a dependable water bottle that you refill as needed throughout your workout.
Jack made some mistakes that caused harm to his teeth, and odds are, some of us have made similar mistakes as well. But by keeping up with our brushing and flossing at home and choosing foods that are low in sugar, we can ensure that our workouts and other actions are not causing problems for our smile. Contact Dr. Ralhan to schedule your next dental appointment in Oakville or Burlington, Ontario.