Ironically, athletes and those of us that engage in physical activities that leave us with a dry mouth are more at risk than the average couch potato. It’s true! The reason is simple, saliva keeps teeth lubricated, it keeps plaque away from teeth and bacteria away from the gums. Saliva is a natural antiseptic and has antimicrobials within it. When your mouth is dry, you lose this natural protection. This means that athletes face increased chance of inflammation and gum disease.
This problem was recently described by Professor Needleman (Restorative Dentist and Evidence-Based Healthcare at UCL Eastman Dental Institute and Honorary Consultant in Periodontology with UCLH) in an article published in ‘Healthy for Men.com’ as:
“A mouthful of gum disease is similar to having a gaping ulcer on your arm the size of the palm of your hand”.
The trouble is that this is out of sight, out of mind and easy to forget about.
Studies at UCL’s Eastman Dental Institute also discovered shockingly high rates of bad oral health in elite athletes leading to poorer on-field performance – and it was not due to poor hygiene. One of the reasons suggested was the use of sugary sports drinks. These are fine if used to support training and recovery, but it seems they are being used by many as a leisure drink long after the sports session has been concluded.