Endurance runners may be jogging their way to a worse smile.

When you exercise you begin to see change in saliva production dropping. This means that your mouth becomes drier, explains the New York Times and it happens even if you are consuming liquids.

Although running has fantastic health benefits it can be damaging to the teeth. A study published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, found that there is a higher rate of tooth decay in triathletes than in non-athletes. The study involved 35 experienced triathletes and 35 participants who did not exercise regularly. The multi-sport athletes trained almost 10 hours a week with a mix of cycling, swimming and running. They were examined for cavities and tooth erosion and also took a saliva test both at rest and while exercising. Based on a questionnaire, 46 percent of athletes reported consuming sports drinks while training and 51 percent drank water. Seventy-four percent ate gels or bars. Compared to the control group, athletes who trained regularly had the most cavities. Consuming sports drinks, gels and bars during training, can lower the mouths PH below the critical mar of 5.5. Dr Susan Tanner adds that this is can lead to dental erosion and caries. The athletes breathe through the mouth during hard exercise. The mouth gets dry, and produces less salvia which normally protects the teeth. Salvia acts as the mouth’s natural cleansing agent by breaking down food particles and rinsing out the mouth.


Drink plenty of water even after consuming sports drinks as they contain high amounts of sugar- to neutralise the mouth’s PH levels. Also consider brushing your teeth or rinsing with an alcohol- free mouthwash.