Burjor Langdana / Adventure Medic Resident Expedition Dentist
Dr Burjor Langdana takes us through the problems with dental hygiene during endurance sports and expeditions. The Colgate Duraphat 5000 toothpaste’s high fluoride content helps to mitigate these risks and can help prevent both dental cavities and gum disease.
But I’m not an endurance athlete
If you are reading Adventure Medic you are likely to be involved in many outdoor pursuits already. Perhaps cycling to work, on your feet walking around the hospital (or other healthcare setting) all day and then any post-work sporting pursuits. At the weekend, a run, hill-walk or climb perhaps. In other words, you are directly or indirectly involved in endurance activities. Thus, you are sharing the oral insults these activities entail.
Do protractive frequent endurance activities affect my oral health?
Unfortunately yes, this is true. Oral health gets a right beating before, during and after exercise. This is how it happens:
a) Viscosity – Sympathetic activity during strenuous exercise increases the mucinous, sticky saliva secretion.1
b) Volume – is decreased due to dehydration and mouth breathing.
c) Composition – IgA concentration is decreased, reducing mucosal and upper respiratory tract immunity.1
A change in regular diet, increased snacking or energy supplements can result in:
a) Increased quantity and frequency of carbohydrate intake.
b) Increase in acid exposure, which causes increased dental corrosion due to the chelating action of the acids present in saliva.1
Studies show that after intense frequent physical activity for 3-24 hours, immune function is affected in the following ways:2
a) Neutrophil respiratory burst.
b) Lymphocyte proliferation.
c) Monocyte antigen presentation.
This results in increased soreness of the throat and mouth.
So, what does all this mean?
This means that your active fun-filled lifestyle puts you in a high-risk group of individuals predisposed to dental decay and gum disease.
Duraphat 5000 Toothpaste
But I go for regular dental check-ups and brush twice a day. What else can I do? A simple addition to your regime is Duraphat 5000 Toothpaste.
What is it? – Colgate Duraphat 5000 ppm toothpaste contains four times the amount of fluoride found in regular toothpaste.
What does it do? – Over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste (1000 ppm) reduces cavities by approximately 23% while a toothpaste in the range of 2400-2800 ppm reduces cavities by about 36%. A 5000 ppm high fluoride toothpaste reduces the cavity risk even more – estimated to be about a 42% reduction.3
How does it work? – The active ingredient sodium fluoride prevents the build-up of plaque that can cause tooth decay and cavities (dental caries). It works by strengthening and remineralising enamel to help resist acid erosion.3
a) Decreases the formation of new cavities.
b) Slows down the progress of any existing dental decay to a certain extent.
c) Helps to decrease dental sensitivity.
d) Decreases the progression of gum disease to a certain extent.
How do I use it? – Ideally, brush for three minutes three times a day and then do not rinse. Try not eating or drinking or rinsing for 30 minutes after that.
Where can I get it? – For those in the UK, if your dentist agrees that you are in the high-risk category for dental decay then you can get up to four tubes on a single NHS prescription.
Practical advantages for the outdoors
- Colgate Duraphat 5000 comes in a small tube and you only need a pea-sized quantity on your toothbrush; saving both weight and space in your pack.
- Its minimal foaming action helps to keep your kit clean and tidy when brushing teeth in a tent.
- Due to its high fluoride content, Colgate Duraphat 5000 can also be used for sensitive teeth – by rubbing and leaving it on sensitive teeth.
- Bottom line: By making Colgate Duraphat 5000 your regular toothpaste, its beneficial effects will make up for the inevitable temporary lapses in oral hygiene maintenance when out in the field.
- Influence of intensive training on salivary flow, on salivary pH and on salivary lactate concentration: consequences for oral health. Reis N, et al. 2015. International Congress of CiiEM.
- Immune function in sport and exercise. Gleeson M. 2007. Journal of Applied Physiology.
- The Anticariogenic Efficacy of 5000 ppm Fluoridated Toothpaste: A Systematic Review. Chaudhary D, et al. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2018 Jan, Vol-12(1): ZE04-ZE10.