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Updated as of 3.27.2020. Our office is temporarily closed. For dental emergencies, please call 503.531.3550. Thank you!

Letter on COVID-19
from Oregon Periodontics

Why Some Athletes Have Higher Chances of Getting Gum Disease


Posted on 12/25/2019 by Robert Henshaw, DMD
Why Some Athletes Have Higher Chances of Getting Gum DiseasePeople from all walks of life can be prone to developing gum disease. Whether you are a doctor, a lawyer, a welder, or anything else, if you do not properly care for your teeth and gums you will likely develop gum disease at some point in your life.

Yet, among athletes, there seems to be a higher likelihood of gum disease. Here is more information on both the likelihood of developing gum disease and what you can do to help reduce your risk.

Athletes and Gum Disease


A recent study suggests that the reason athletes are more likely to have gum disease may be connected to their diets as well as the types of sports in which they engage. Regarding diet, many athletes rely on a diet heavy in carbohydrates.

This type of diet is necessary to provide the fuel for an athlete's elevated activity level. At the same time, foods high in carbohydrates are known to be linked to increased levels of gum tissue inflammation. As such, a carbohydrate-rich diet can increase your chances of developing gum disease—meaning that an athlete's diet is one contributing factor.

Another factor is the type of sport that a given athlete plays. A sport that requires increased airflow through the mouth—such as running, cycling, or other cardiovascular-intensive sports—can also dry out the mouth due to the air rushing in and out. Without the benefits of ample saliva to protect the teeth and gum tissue, an athlete is more likely to have gum disease.

What Can You Do?
While you need energy to compete in your sport, try to avoid too many carbs when you are not actively competing. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of fluids during competition. This will help keep your mouth moist. Taking these steps can help athletes fight off gum disease.
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