Long-Distance Race Preparation and Your Dental Health


Tis the season for long-distance racing, whether in the form of biking, swimming, running, walking, or a combination of these in the form of a triathlon. And while dental health might not be at the top of the list for preparing for a long-distance race, Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow recommend a visit as part of your regular fitness training regimen.

Popularity of Long-Distance Racing

Over the years, individuals and groups have created a wide variety of long-distance racing that both challenges athletes while helping those in need. From the nationally-based Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to the Oregon-based Hood to Coast and Portland to Coast relay races, long-distance racing has only increased in popularity.  These long-distance races range from simple 5K walks or runs, 10K walks or runs, quarter marathons, half marathons, full marathons and triathlons that attract participants of all ages and levels of health.

Traditional Preparation for a Long-Distance Race

Long-distance racing provides worthwhile challenges for runners, walkers, cyclers and swimmers at all ages and fitness levels.  The most important aspect is not actual race day, but preparing for the long-distance race over time. While these preparatory activities include trying out and breaking in athletic shoes and sticking to a diet of high-quality and nutritious foods, there are also additional items to consider.

The first item on the list of long-distance race preparation is a visit to all medical professionals in your life. Before beginning a training regimen as part of long-term preparation, it’s absolutely necessary to get a baseline of your overall health as well as your dental health. Visit your doctor for a complete physical – including blood work – before beginning any exercise.

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

Your Teeth and Long-Distance Racing

It might sound funny to visit dentists in Portland, Oregon Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their team at Mt. Tabor Dental while preparing for a long-distance race, but there are very good reasons to take this step.

First, it’s essential to make regular visits to the dentist part of your good regimen for overall health. It’s even more important considering the overwhelming research that connects the development of heart disease with dental issues such as gum disease.

The American Academy of Periodontology has discovered that patients are about twice as likely to develop heart disease if they have cavities, missing teeth, or periodontal disease. Since the same bacteria in the mouth has been found in tissues that surround the heart, the theory is that this bacteria enters gum tissue and is carried to the bloodstream and ends up in the heart.

Another theory regarding the connection between heart disease and periodontal disease proposes that bacteria from the mouth travels through the blood stream, narrowing arteries due to the body’s natural defenses against bacteria. This is a dangerous development to anyone who wants to participate in long-distance racing, as inflammation keeps athletes from getting all of the oxygen-rich blood that they need.

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 Mt. Tabor Dental at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

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