As evidenced by the past decade of Olympic games, some habits associated with working out can take a severe toll on your smile. It’s not just Olympians who struggle with these issues either. Across the country, teens and college athletes are confronted with these same challenges and choices. See how Brooke’s decisions while following a strict workout routine led to deteriorating oral health.
Growing up in Yamhill County, OR, Brooke was interested in sports from a young age. While she played everything from softball to soccer at one time or another, Brooke discovered her real passion, volleyball, when she was 12 years old. Ever since trying out for the team in junior high, Brooke was hooked and continued to play volleyball all through high school as well. Not wanting to give up her favorite sport, Brooke was determined to make the team her first year of college as well.
While Brooke was one of the best players on her high school team, she knew she’d have to take her training to the next level to even stand a chance of making her college team as a freshman. To prepare for her summer of intense training, Brooke sat at her computer and purchased all of her favorite workout aids. She relied on her favorite bright pink sports drink to hydrate her before and after every workout, mostly because it was full of electrolytes and she loved the taste. She also decided to get a few boxes of her favorite Luna protein bars, again because of their taste.
With her bag packed with sports snacks and supplements, Brooke set off to the gym. For volleyball, she was focusing on boosting the strength of her lower body, practicing precise skills like serving, and of course, tons of cardio. Brooke hated running, but she supplemented it with spin classes, high-intensity training, and time on the rowing machine. After her cardio workouts, Brooke always felt that her mouth was particularly dry, but luckily, her bottle of bright pink Gatorade was right by her side, ready to replenish her lost nutrients.
Brooke kept up her training routine throughout the summer, getting more in shape than she’d ever been in before. Finally, it was time to start at her new college. As she spoke to her counselor on the first day, she told her about her aspirations of playing volleyball, but suddenly had to grab the side of her mouth in pain. Brooke had no idea what was wrong with her teeth but knew she had to make an appointment before she could play volleyball again.
Sports beverages are marketed as the ideal choice for athletes of all kinds. Their greatest selling point is the electrolytes which replenish the salt lost through sweating, but one thing that’s rarely adorned on their front label is the amount of sugar they contain. In Brooke’s case, she loved the bright pink version that tasted great but forgot to notice that the amount of sugar rivaled that of a can of soda – drinking the sugary sports drink daily led to consequences for her teeth.
All that working out left Brooke drained and hungry afterward, and she decided to rely on her favorite protein bar to replenish her calories. Protein bars such as Luna Bars taste especially good compared to most but can contain deceptive amounts of sugar. Frequently consuming these snacks that coated her teeth in sugar after each workout resulted in tooth decay and cavities.
Cardio is excellent for improving endurance and heart health, but the heavy breathing associated with it often leads to dry mouth. The problem with dry mouth is that it deprives the mouth of saliva, which is its natural defense system. Without saliva to keep her mouth clean and fresh, she rinsed her mouth out with a sugary sports beverage which made matters worse. By simply relying on water, her teeth would have been far better off.
No matter what kind of exercise regimen you follow, remembering to drink lots of water and avoid sugar can give you the edge you need to perform at your peak potential – without harming your smile. When you’re ready for your next biannual dental appointment, count on Dr. Golly in McMinnville, OR for the smile you deserve.