In a recent study conducted at the University Hospital Heidelberg in the southwest region of Germany, researchers discovered that those who trained at least 10 hours each week had an increased likelihood of having acidic saliva. In fact, out of the 35 participants in the study, it was noted that the harder an individual trained, the more acidic their saliva.
One of the most common complications with acidic saliva is xerostomia, or dry mouth. As the name suggests, the condition can be defined as the perpetual dryness of the oral cavity due to a reduction in salivary fluids. In severe cases, even drinking water does not alleviate the condition. Saliva’s primary function is to cleanse the mouth and the teeth of debris. The decreased amount of saliva combined with the acidity promotes an environment ideal for bacteria and cavity formation. Add to this that most runners and other athletes often consume foods high in carbohydrates as well as sugary sports drinks and the end result is often increased amounts of tooth decay.
While exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are some preventative methods that you could take to protect yourself from “runner’s mouth.” Avoid sugary sports drinks as much as possible and try and at least rinse out your out after consuming any power bars. Most importantly, always remember to stay hydrated. Make sure to drink ample amounts of water before, throughout and subsequently after your workouts. Another helpful tip could be to increase your salt intake as salt helps to retain water better.