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07 / 02 / 2018

‘Carb Rinsing’ – The Benefits And The Risks

A Word Or Two Of Caution For Athletes Tempted To Try This Performance Enhancement Theory

In ‘The Guardian’ today, we spotted an article about ‘carb rinsing’ which caught our eye.

Apparently, tests have shown that ‘carb rinsing’ may be highly beneficial to athletes who wish to improve their performance. It is generally thought that this works better in short ‘explosive’ sports rather than endurance ones.

What is carb rinsing?

The idea is that, just prior to a performance, the athlete ‘swishes’ a sugary solution around their mouth before spitting it out. The theory behind these apparent performance improvements is that the brain is tricked into thinking that the body has just been given a supply of fuel and can therefore perform better.

There is a lot more to this study which you can read more about if you so wish. From the perspective of our Ipswich dental surgery, however, we can anticipate a rise in oral health problems if this simple technique catches on more widely.

Sugar consumption

Whilst carb rinsing will not really add to the obesity problem created by high sugar consumption, the fact is that this sugary solution will have been swilled around the mouth, coming into contact with, and sticking to, our teeth and gums. This wouldn’t necessarily be a huge problem if, following the performance, the teeth were cleaned straight away. The likelihood though is that it could be several hours before this happens, leaving plenty of time for the sugar to be converted by oral bacteria into the acids that damage the enamel of our teeth.

Long term risks

If repeated consistently, it is not hard to see how this practice could cause significant damage to our teeth. As the protective enamel erodes, the softer and more porous dentin layer beneath becomes exposed. Once this happens, decay is likely to set in shortly after. Bacteria may also enter the root canals of the teeth where the nerves are stored. Very painful toothache and the need for root canal treatment then, is probably only a matter of time.

Our advice

World-class athletes, for whom it could be the difference between an Olympic gold or silver, might feel that sacrificing healthy teeth is worth it in order to achieve their ultimate goal. For the majority of us; the weekend joggers and occasional gym-goers, this seems to be too high a price to pay!

If you do wish to try this, make sure to brush your teeth as soon as possible after you have finished your race or sport. Make sure to stay well hydrated too and keep a pack of sugar-free gum in your bag to chew after the competition. This will help to remove some of the sugars from your teeth and gums.

Also, make sure to see your local Ipswich dentist on a regular basis so that we can monitor the health of your teeth and carry out any appropriate treatment.

You can contact the Lighthouse Dental Practice by calling us on 01473 257379.

We are here to help you.
If you would like to speak to a member of our friendly team about any of the issues in this article please visit our contact page or call us on 01473 257379.

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