Dental Care and Long-Distance Racing

Newberg dental practice

When you start training for a half-marathon, a triathlon, or a simple 10K race, your dental health might not be the first thing you think about. Instead, you may focus on fat loss, endurance training, building muscle and a good pair (or two) of the appropriate shoes. However, Newberg dentist Dr. Jennifer McLeod and her team at Newberg Family Dental encourage long-distance racers to pay special care to their dental health and overall wellness as racing season gets underway.

What is Long-Distance Racing?

Long-distance racing has become increasingly popular over the years. Do a simple internet search for races in your community and you’ll find a wide variety of community-based races. These can be 5K walks or runs, 10K walks or runs, quarter marathons, half marathons, full marathons and triathlons and are usually tied to a cause. Participants usually pay to walk or run, and the money raised goes toward organizations that fight cancer or support those with a wide range of special needs.

Preparing for Long-Distance Racing

Aside from raising money for good causes, long-distance racing has proven to be a worthwhile challenge for runners, cyclers and swimmers at all levels. To prepare for long-distance racing, the first item on your personal list should be a visit to the doctor. It’s essential to ensure that you are in good basic health before beginning any exercise. Have the doctor do a blood panel and complete a full physical examination so that you start a training regimen safely for your long-distance racing event.

The second item on your list – although it might not make sense – should be to visit your dentist.

Your Teeth and Long-Distance Racing

What does your dental health have to do with long-distance racing? More than you might expect.

First, it’s undeniable that regular visits to a dental professional like this dentist in Newberg, Oregon can help ensure good overall dental health. More importantly, however, is the overwhelming research that shows the connections between dental problems and the development of heart disease.

While the conclusions are not absolute, the American Academy of Periodontology has found that patients with cavities, missing teeth, or periodontal disease are about twice as likely to have heart disease. The bacteria found in the mouth has also been detected in tissues around and inside the heart itself. The prevailing theory is that this bacteria enters gum tissue and is carried to the bloodstream and ends up in the heart.

Inflammation is also a problem when it comes to dental health and long-distance racing, as racers need all of the oxygen-rich blood they can get before, during and after a race. A theory proposes that bacteria from the mouth travels through the blood stream, narrowing arteries due to the body’s natural defenses against bacteria. This is dangerous to anyone who wants to participate in long-distance racing.

While you are focusing on training and hydrating, don’t forget to ensure the best dental and overall health before your long-distance race. Contact Newberg Family Dental here or call (503) 278-4281 to schedule your appointment!