Why do athletes have a higher risk of cavities?

Q: I’ve heard that athletes have a higher risk for cavities. Why would this be true?
A: There are various reasons why athletes have a higher risk for cavities. To build up their energy, a lot of athletes consume high-carb or acidic foods like nutrition bars and sports drinks in the middle of working out or during a break on the field. Then they’ll usually resume exercising without brushing or flossing, so the food is still stuck to their teeth. As they exercise they’ll breathe hard through their mouths. This reduces their saliva production, making their teeth more vulnerable to decay.

If you’re an athlete, you need to take extra care of your teeth. Talk to your dentist about a fluoride program. Brush and floss regularly, and chew sugarless gum after meals to help loosen bits of food from your teeth. If you do consume a snack in the middle of a game or when you’re working out, take a moment to rinse your mouth out with water afterward.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi
sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

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