If you’re preparing for a marathon, American Ninja Warrior or anything that requires an average of 9 hours of athletic training per week, you might want to pay extra attention to your teeth.

New York Times story by Gretchen Reynolds suggests that erosion of tooth enamel, cavities and other oral health problems may be linked to exercise.

Heavy training may contribute to dental problems in unexpected ways, according to a study published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Reynolds reports.

Research completed through the dental school at University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany and other institutions compared 35 competitive triathletes and 35 healthy adults who were not athletes.

According to Reynolds’ report on the athletes: “During their experimental runs, the amount of saliva that they produced progressively lessened, meaning that their mouths became drier, regardless of whether they consumed water or other beverages during the workout. The saliva’s chemical composition also shifted, growing more alkaline as the workout continued. Excess alkalinity in saliva is thought to contribute to the development of tartar plaques on teeth and other problems.”

How do athletes’ consumption of sugary sports drinks and bars factor in? Read the full story at: