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You may love hard training, but what about your teeth?

When you see a person who eats clean, goes to the gym every day, you instantly think that every inch of their body is in perfect condition. Take Olympic contestants for example. Being fit and healthy is their job. You sure are going to be shocked when I tell you about the London 2012 games. During these Olympics, dentists examined a bunch of athletes and established that out of 302 athletes, 55% had cavities, and 76% had gum issues. Strange, isn’t it?

This of course is not to say that half of all athletes everywhere have issues with their teeth, and it really is a small percentage of athletes who experience dental issues, but it is always good to be informed. I am here to share some of the main reasons behind this occurrence, and some of my views on the subject.

Suspect number one: jaw clenching

When we are doing something hard, our first reflex is to clench our jaw. You have no idea how many times you do that while exercising, especially if you are lifting weights. Doing this often leads our musculus masseter to fatigue. The musculus masseter is a muscle which connects our upper and lower jaw and it is one of the strongest muscles in our body. When it gets tired, we start to grind our teeth unconsciously (usually during the night) and that leads to enamel damage, which creates cavities. A cavity is damage to the structure of the tooth and when you have it, it will in a very short time lead to more serious issues. Next comes the stage when bacteria have found the cavity, gotten inside it and started destroying your tooth. It is often extremely painful and you must visit your dentist as soon as possible or otherwise, your life is going to become a living nightmare.

Suspect number two: mouth breathing

Remember when you were a child and your gym teacher yelled at you while running: „INHALE THROUGH YOUR NOSE, EXALE THROUGH YOUR MOUTH!“ ? That is a very important part of exercising. When you inhale through your mouth, it becomes dry because the secretion of saliva is stopped and that helps bacteria get inside, find cavities and grow.

Suspect number three: sugary sports beverages

Even though my job as a fitness instructor is to recommend these drinks to my clients, I am not doing that. You know that our body is 70% water, and while we sweat, that water evaporates and we have to make up for the loss. Why would you do so with a sugary soda? Sure, it will give you a quick energy boost, but after a short period of time, your energy level will decrease and you will feel even more tired than you were before you drank it. Also, people often buy that garbage just because they have seen a commercial where a gorgeous-looking fitness model drinks it and convinces you that you simply are not going to work out properly if you don’t drink that during your training. Trust me, that is the only time they took a sip of it. My recommendation is in 100% cases – water. Pure, sugarless, natural and refreshing – water.

Teeth infections

Even though it is called a tooth infection, it is actually an infection of the gums around an infected tooth. Our gums then start to hurt and become swollen. When that happens, your dentist will first give you an antibiotic and when you finish the therapy, he will fix your tooth. A very important thing is not to work out during this treatment. Your immune system is battling bacteria, with the help of the antibiotic. Physical activities help infections spread and this applies not only to teeth infections, but also to other illnesses: when your organism is fighting a disease – stay in bed.

How to improve your oral health:

*  Brush your teeth at least twice a day

*  Floss every 2-3 days

*  Have a regular dental checkup

*  Don’t eat too much candy or drink too many sugary drinks – it’s bad for your teeth and your body!

*  Always breathe through your nose

Another important thing

This article is not here to scare you and make you stop working out. It is here to help you take care of your teeth and train smarter. Take care of your body, it is the only one you have.