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Runners World: New Study Warns That Running & Jogging Can Cause Bad Teeth

ByKim West
Jul 21, 2014 11:36 PM EDT

It's no secret that running can be great for the mind, body and soul. Who doesn't love that rush of endorphins and that sense of accomplishment after a great run?

But runners beware, what it's doing to our teeth may surprise you.

According to the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, a new study is linking an increase in cavities and tooth erosion among runners and athletes who train for long periods of time, multiple days a week.

"Expending that much energy requires an increase in carb and sugary food intake like sports drinks and protein bars," explained Dr. Jessica Emery, cosmetic dentist and owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft Chicago.

So were does the decay come in? "Sugar feeds the decay causing bacteria. Our defenses against this bad bacteria live in our saliva," the expert told us.

"Because of this sugary food, the dry mouth that comes with the way we breathe during our exercise and the dehydration that comes with sweating for long periods of time, these make a perfect trifecta for cavities."

But don't throw away your sneakers just yet. Here are some tips from Dr. Emery on how to keep your mouth as fit as your body.

H20. "Always drink plenty of water, before, during and after your workouts," Dr. Emery instructed. "If you are a distance runner, consider increasing your salt intake which allows your body to retain water."

Go Sugar Free. "Carry some sugar free gum to pop in right after you finish your run. This will get rid of the dry mouth and allow your saliva glands to start working again," the expert said.

Maintain Your Mouth. Continue to brush and floss regularly and if you are experiencing increased sensitivity or pain, see your dentist immediately. 

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