The Olympic Games that occurred over the last decade revealed a surprising fact about Olympians, and it also applies to athletes in general. A study of 278 Olympic athletes found that 55% of them developed cavities and about 66% had gum disease. The results of these findings show that certain habits associated with hard physical training can wreak havoc on the athlete’s teeth. Explore the intense training of college freshman Jessica, and see how her decisions impact her oral health.
Jessica Strives to Play Varsity Basketball as a Freshman
Athletics always came easy for Jessica. It didn’t hurt that her dad was a passionate basketball coach at a local college and her mom was a yoga instructor. As one might imagine, her fitness-obsessed parents raised Jessica to run, jump, and play her best at whatever she did. While she tried numerous sports over the years, Jessica was tall and loved using her height to her advantage in her favorite sport, basketball.
When entering her freshman year of college, Jessica chose to skip being part of the sports teams to focus on her academics. This proved to be a decision she regretted, as she saw many of her friends try out for the basketball team, with some actually making the cut. She decided she’d try harder than ever before to make the team during her sophomore year. Jessica was excited about her new goal and decided to buy everything she’d need for her training regimen.
Jessica Prepares for Her New Intense Training Plan
Sitting at her computer at her favorite online shopping site, Jessica started by buying her favorite workout beverage. She loved the bright blue Gatorade because of its unique flavor and the fact that it replenished her electrolytes. As for sports snacks, her favorite was the Zone Perfect Bar, mostly because she loved the consistency and flavors like Dark Chocolate Almond. “I’ll take a case of each!” she thought to herself as she clicked on the red button that said “Purchase.”
As the next week rolled around, Jessica couldn’t wait to hit the gym. She began with strength workouts, after which she liked to take a quick break to have a snack. After that, it was an hour of cardio, which she loved, but felt extremely parched afterward. Fortunately, Jessica’s favorite sports drink was right by her side, and if she didn’t finish the whole bottle during her workout, it was almost always empty before she left the gym.
Jessica continued her grueling workout routine for months until tryouts were just days away. While she felt she was finally ready to prove her skills on the basketball court, she also felt something else. Bringing her hand slowly up to the side of her mouth, Jessica knew something was wrong with her teeth. She quickly made an appointment at Sycamore Creek Dental in Corona, hoping she could heal up to 100% before the basketball season started.
What 3 Choices Led to Jessica’s Cavities?
1. Jessica Chose to Replenish Her Nutrients with Sugary Snacks
While protein bars do contain valuable protein and sometimes other vitamins, some of them are also deceptively loaded with sugar. This will not only interfere with your energy levels as it causes your blood sugar to spike, but prolonged exposure to the teeth is especially bad.
2. Jessica Drank a Sugary Sports Drink Instead of Water
Sports drinks are marketed as valuable parts of every athlete’s routine, but it’s important to look closely at the labels lest you end up consuming more sugar than you’d expect. There are sugar-free sports drinks out there, so simply checking the nutrition facts can ensure you make a wise decision.
3. Cardio and Heavy Breathing Often Leads to Dry Mouth
The condition of dry mouth doesn’t sound harmful, but since it deprives the body of it’s natural defense system, saliva, it renders your mouth more vulnerable to plaque. Had Jessica chosen water instead of a sugar-packed sports drink, she would have treated her dry mouth without any harm to her teeth.
A Fit Body Includes a Healthy Smile
Many Americans strive to get in shape throughout the year, but it’s important to see how your choices can affect your smile. Fitness is vital for a healthy life, and committing to drinking water and consuming only healthy snacks will set your body – and teeth – up for success. If you’re ready for your biannual dental exam, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Nguyen at Sycamore Creek Dental in Corona, CA. We’ll treat you like family when you’re at our office.