Did you know that an overwhelming majority of athletes who participated in the 2012 Olympic Games had serious dental problems?
It turns out that the reasons for their degraded oral health are due to a handful of bad habits that all types of athletes often engage in. From professional sports figures to high school hopefuls like Brandon, understanding the ways that our fitness routine can impact our smile is a great way to prevent dental problems. Explore the decisions made by Brandon as he put all he had into making his varsity basketball team in Millville, NJ.
Brandon Trains Hard But His Oral Health Suffers
Growing up in Cumberland County, New Jersey, Brandon would best describe himself as street smart, fun, and athletic. Much of his childhood was spent hanging out in local parks and ball courts, and he developed some formidable skills along the way. Brandon never really took school seriously, but when he made it to his senior year without being part of the team, he saw this as the last chance to prove that his basketball skills were the real deal.
Always the kind of guy to throw himself completely into what he wants to do, Brandon took this extreme approach with his training as well. “Making the team isn’t enough”, he thought to himself, “I have to be the best.” With that realization, Brandon began spending five days per week in the weight room, and seven days a week running and honing his b-ball skills.
Once Brandon got to the gym, there was no stopping him. He wasn’t the biggest and didn’t have the most well-defined six-pack, but Brandon was the most driven, and would push himself insanely hard in his workouts. Between sets, Brandon relied on his favorite, bright blue-colored sports drink, and would pull out a protein bar after each workout to replenish some of his nutrients. The sports drink came in handy, Brandon thought, because his mouth was also extra dry, especially while doing cardio.
Brandon’s plan worked. Hitting the gym hard took his already remarkable basketball skills to the next level, and he easily made the varsity team. As he was at his first practice, listening to the coach give an overview of what he expects, Brandon felt a stinging sensation in his mouth. The pain pulled his attention away from the coach, and as he brought his hand up to the side of his mouth, Brandon thought to himself, “A random toothache NOW? Really?”
3 Reasons Why Brandon’s Toothache Wasn’t Random
Brandon made the decision to sacrifice all else in favor of his goal of making the varsity basketball team, but what decisions led to his painful dental dilemma?
1. Brandon Chose to Hydrate with Sugary Sports Drinks
Sports drinks often use famous celebrities to market their products as must-haves for athletes of all levels. With their bright colors and unique flavors, it’s hard to not choose these sports drinks above water. However, it’s vital to understand that many of these sports drinks are also packed with sugar, and they coat your teeth in it with every sip. If you’re relying on sports drinks for a frequent workout routine, that’s a lot of instances of recoating your teeth in sugar. By simply choosing water instead, Brandon could have spared his teeth while still keeping himself hydrated.
2. He Had Dry Mouth and Cured it with Sports Drinks
Running and other forms of cardio make breathing challenging, and typically result in not only harder breathing, but open-mouthed breathing as well. Both of these forms of breathing cause dry mouth, a condition that is bad for the teeth because it deprives them of saliva, their natural defense system. Rehydrating with water is a much better plan, since it won’t leave lingering sugar on your teeth for the rest of your workout.
3. Brandon Eats Protein Bars, Unaware of their Sugar Content
Marketing for protein bars would have you believe that they include a muscle-building miracle in every package. The reality is that the protein they offer is typically accompanied by extra sugar to enhance their taste. When Brandon chooses his favorite sugary protein bar for each workout, he’s relentlessly exposing his teeth to more sugar in every training session. Had he done a bit of research, Brandon could have found that there are many protein bars available with natural ingredients and little to no sugar.
See Dr. Fuming Li for Top Quality Dental Treatments
Brandon’s scenario isn’t unique – athletes throughout the country make decisions that impact their smiles every day. What habits do you have that affect your smile? Is there some small part of your life where your choices are impacting your health? While keeping up with your brushing and flossing at home is excellent for your oral health, there is no substitute for your biannual professional cleanings. Contact our Millville or Voorhees offices to schedule your next appointment.