26 July 2015

Dry mouth and running - WARNING
















I get my teeth checked every six months. The last visit was an absolute disaster. I needed 4 or 5 fillings which I put down to my new overly officious dentist. This guy had an awesome reputation, was passionate about boating and often traveled to far flung exotic destinations. Many of those holiday snaps proudly lined the ceiling of his office. I’m always happy to do my bit. Knowing my hard earned cash was going to a good cause like tourism and fostering international relations took my mind off the exorbitant bill waiting for me at reception.

It had been 8 months since my last visit. Looking up from the chair I noticed yet another picture had been added up above. A snap of the Great Wall in all its glory that included my dentist smiling at the camera. Or was he smiling at me?

These days dentists use a fairly high tech gadget that seems to do all the work looking for tooth decay. A wonderful hand held device which emits a laser that when confronted with a nasty hole will discharge a high pitched screech. Unbelievably that bloody machine went off not once but twice! Each time I swear I could see my dentist grin beneath that mask of his as he mentally tackled complex arithmetic in his head. X + Y = new boat.

I questioned whether a faulty battery might be the cause of all that noise. He didn’t buy it. He did admit that 6 or 7 cavities over the last 18 months was a little on the high side. No kidding I thought. That’s more than I’ve had my entire life! He sent me on my way with a new appointment and doctor prescribed enamel hardening toothpaste.

That night, while running, I pondered my failing teeth and declining years. No one has better oral hygiene that I. I brush after every meal, never drink soda and rarely partake in the temptation of sweets, especially cheesecake. And then, like a bolt from the heavens …

Propping myself in front of Google I typed ‘running and cavities’ and waited. The first four search results were - Does running lead to worse oral health, can running ruin your teeth, running may damage your teeth and my favourite, great legs, gross teeth. 

From what I’ve read it’s now accepted that frequent endurance running leads to a greater risk of shitty teeth. You’d think that all those energy drinks and sports bars were the cause but apparently not so. Just as well because I don’t do much of that. To blame is what they call ‘dry mouth’. As runners we breathe rapidly through our mouths and heavily too. As a result our mouths become dry, saliva production and flow decreases and the environment becomes much more alkaline. Excess alkalinity in saliva is not good and accelerates the erosion of enamel.

Solutions are hard to find. What seems to be commonly suggested are – talk to your dentist about dry mouth, brush then gargle mouth wash before running. Drink water and chew gum periodically during long runs and finally gargle with mouth wash again after running. 















David Rudisha is the current Olympic and world record holder for the 800m. At the 2012 London Olympics this Kenyan giant won in a time of 1.40.91. At 6ft 3in (190cm) and 155lbs (70kg) Rudisha in full flight looks devastating. Commentators described his Olympic run as “The Greatest 800 Metre Race Ever”. The image above promotes a 1hr documentary about his life. The link to it can be found here. For the 800m Olympic final in London, check out the video below. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKEOjWEzVGs

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for those tips Mark. Trips to the dentist aren't my favourite (I don't like to see him upgrading his car and boat every year). Good one about the mouthwash before and after running. Or riding too!

    That was a great doco. Love how Rudisha ran that race - leading all the way - almost impossible to do in an 800. Now... I'm 6 foot 2 and 160 pounds... if I get on the rack and lose 5 pounds, what do you reckon?

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  2. So you're my height and around 72/73 kg. Oh how I wish. I find winter so hard to maintain a good weight. Jumped on the scales Tuesday and was horrified with a 79.5 kg reading. You know what? I've been feeling it out on the road too. Those extra 4 kg I’ve put on have made a world of difference. What should be easy feels harder and deep down I've always known why. I eat too much in the evening damn it. HELP ME!

    To answer your question regarding Rudisha and you. I read somewhere that he has a stride length of 8 feet so if you could achieve that and the 5 pound loss I reckon you'd still be a country mile away ;-)

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    1. 8 feet! I'd be doing well to long jump 8 feet!
      You should knock the 4kgs off come summer Mark. I've always put on a little weight over winter. I actually hit the wrong side of 80kg once - the weight just gradually crept up over the years and I didn't notice - wasn't in the habit of weighing myself. Now I do so once a week and try to stay on the right side of 74.

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  3. I was outraged when I saw what that American dentist did to that lion and now almost breathless at this New Zealand one taking your hard earned! ;) Actually think had that lion killing guy been a librarian we wouldn't of gotten half as upset! ;) My advice is you should stop reading internet "news articles" I often find I'm doing so with an open, dry, mouth!

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    1. Keep your mouth shut and less hot air will come out Scott.

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  4. True my friend ... very true. Scott, the family and I return to Japan from next year. I'm worried I won't get accepted into the number of races/events I do here. From memory I had a 50% hit rate back in the late 90's. Is it still the same today?

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  5. Sorry to hear about your tooth problems, David. It is not the first thing you would think of, but it's true. There are other things that cause bad teeth other than certain foods or poor hygiene. Thanks for telling your readers about 'dry mouth'. At the very least, they could consult with their dentists on how to avoid such an occurrence from affecting their overall dental health.

    Brian Derrick @ Falls Park Dentistry

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    1. Hi Brian. I was so pleased to get your comment. I reckon my new pre run, post run mouth wash regime is working superbly. I'm looking forward to telling my dentist that I won't be a regular on his 'to do' list anymore. I only hope he is as understanding as you have been. Thanks mate.

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