The study, published recently in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports and carried out by the School of Dental Medicine, Heidelberg, Germany, showed that as participants’ weekly training increased, so did the prevalence of dental erosion along with a decrease in saliva flow rates and an increase in saliva pH.
The research looked at 35 triathletes and 35 non-exercisers and included oral exams, saliva testing, a questionnaire about food consumption and oral hygiene habits, plus training habits.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: ‘Athletes require plenty of sugary and energy drinks across a prolonged period of time to get them through their respective sports.
‘However, by consuming too many sports and energy drinks, athletes are at risk of dental erosion.
‘Using a straw to help drinks go to the back of the mouth will help limit the amount of time a fizzy drink will be in contact with teeth.
‘If the use of energy drinks, particularly amongst children, continues to rise, dental health problems will develop and persist throughout adulthood.’
The research concludes: ‘Based on these findings, it can be suggested that endurance training has detrimental effects on oral health.
‘Additionally, there is a need for exercise-adjusted oral hygiene regimes and nutritional modifications in the field of sports dentistry.’