According to the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, heavy exercise may be the cause of poor dental health in athletes. In 2012, at the Summer Olympics, 278 athletes were given oral examinations. The majority had various gum diseases and enamel decay. A suspected cause was use of sports drinks and nutrition bars, however, further study supports the theory that chemical changes in saliva during exercise could be the real culprit. This New York Times article “Is Exercise Bad for Your Teeth”explains the study conducted by the dental school of the University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany.
Saliva from triathletes was collected before and during strenuous exercise, including those like Jared who frequently run marathons. It was discovered that athletes’ saliva both decreased during workouts and become more alkaline. One function of saliva is to protect teeth, so decreased saliva production during contributes to the issue. The increased alkalinity of spit, however allows more development of tartar than normal which promotes gum disease and cavities. Despite the small sample of this study doctors did conclude that demanding intense exercise over a long period of time could have a negative effect on dental health.