Do you quickly run out of air during endurance training? In tennis, the back hurts before the end of the first set? Your teeth could be to blame. They have a far greater impact on our entire body than many assume, even for those who are taking PEDs such as the Syn Pharma steroids.
In the case of low form, athletes have their heart, circulation, and back checked by the doctor, while jaws, teeth, and gums are rare. Gross negligence! “Performance degradation and susceptibility to injury often have dental causes,” says Dr. Jochen H. Schmidt, senior dentist at Carree Dental in Cologne. These are the 3 most common triggers:
1. Chronic inflammation in the mouth slows down endurance
“Often it is simply due to chronic inflammation of the teeth and gums when defenses, endurance, and performance leave much to be desired,” says Dr. Schmidt. This is due to bacteria that spread from the mouth throughout the body and burden the immune system. Oral bacteria have also been linked to stroke, increased risk of thrombosis, and heart attack.
This helps: The cause of chronic inflammation in the oral cavity is primarily a lack of oral hygiene. A healthy, sugar-reduced diet and a tooth cleaning twice a year are usually enough to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. Important: See the dentist early if your gums bleed frequently or the breath smells strong.
2. Jaw dysfunction affects entire muscle chains
“Jaw dysfunction, as well as malpositions of the teeth, can affect entire muscle chains and thus have an impact on the entire musculoskeletal system,” says Dr. Schmidt. In addition to painful postural damage, a noticeable drop in performance and an increased risk of injury are frequent consequences. “Especially during peak sporting loads, the harmonious interaction of head and neck muscles is of essential importance,” says the expert. What many do not know: The jaw is connected to the spine via muscles and nerves. Dr. Schmidt: “Even the loss or deformity of a single tooth can have far-reaching consequences for the entire body statics and many movement sequences.”
This helps: Even if a missing molar does not bother you visually: It can very well impair your body’s performance. Have your bite checked at the next dentist’s appointment! If you have a lot of teeth crooked, you should also consider jaw regulation. Meanwhile, there are inconspicuous ways to optimize tooth position and bite in adulthood, even if you usually have to pay the costs yourself (expect 1000 to 7000 euros).
3. Teeth grinding hurts whole-body statics
Many people grind and press their teeth, not only at night but also during intensive training sessions. In combination with jaw misalignments, this can have an impact on whole-body statics. With consequences not only for athletic performance. Typical complaints are also neck, headache, and back pain as well as migraine or dizziness.
This helps: Often a plastic bite splint (usually paid for by the health insurance companies) is enough to remedy the complaints. It can compensate for tooth misalignments and protects against further teeth grinding. “Incorrect loads on the muscles are eliminated, temporomandibular joints are relieved and the masticatory and head muscles are relaxed,” explains Dr. Schmidt. This also increases performance and coordination skills and reduces the susceptibility to injury. Positive effects that now also motivate some Bundesliga footballers and tennis professionals to wear individual splints during training, because the body does not have to use any force to regulate the malfunction.
Pay attention to regular check-ups at the dentist. If you have any complaints, go straight to the Doc and have your teeth professionally cleaned 2 times a year. In the future, you will not only prevent toothache but also ensure the best conditions for optimal performance in a sporty way.