10/29/14

WWW: Why your best friend should be a scaler or a Hygienist

If you are like me, you perform high-intensity intermittent training and eat a high protein low carb diet. This combination has changed my body and even more crazily, my oral cavity. A study was done solely on high-intensity intermittent exercise and how it affects saliva. Through the study, it was found that the salivary flow wasn’t greatly affected. However, the total protein concentration and alpha-amylase were both greatly increased. These values were not returned back to normal until two and a half hours post-exercise.



Now let’s back up, saliva is made by 99.5% of water. The other .5% is a comprised of electrolytes, mucus, glycoproteins, antibacterial compounds, and enzymes. Amylase helps break down starches and has a pH of 7.4 and is secreted by the parotid gland located in the cheek by the upper maxillary molars and the submandibular glands under your tongue on the floor of your mouth. Now, in a high carbohydrate diet, the resting pH value would be around a 6 and would cause organisms that thrived in more acidic environments to thrive such as streptococci and lactobacilli, which cause soft plaque and dental caries. 

However, in a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, there are fewer acidic organisms because the pH is higher and more alkaline due to the ammonia that is produced as a by-product of amino acid breaking down. Plaque, the soft fuzzy stuff that your toothbrush can get off due to eating any sorts of carbohydrate or starch, thrives in an acidic environment. When the environment switches to more basic, the tartar builds up quicker. This is why body builders will wake up with tartar all along their mandibular anteriors, especially the lingual, and the facial of the maxillary molars. I even ran across multiple forums asking about it. The saliva has so many minerals in it and causes the tartar to form extremely quickly.


To help with this, use some anti-tartar and anti-gingivitis toothpaste and mouthwash and use both along with floss two times a day. I would also recommend seeing your hygienist at least every 6 months if not every 3-4 months. If you have the dexterity without injuring your tissues, get the take-home scaler kit from any store to clean your teeth a couple times a week if you build calculus quickly. The most important, though, is to maintain your brushing and flossing DAILY because increased tartar buildup combined with a more alkaline environment points largely to high risk of periodontal disease. Become friends with a hygienist today. They’re good to have around. ;)



The Woman Writer Wednesday author, Erica, is a registered Dental Hygienist in both Texas and Oklahoma. She has been practicing Dental Hygiene professionally for over a year now and is active in her career field. She also is very dedicated in fitness and wellness, which gives her an insight on how exercise and diet affects oral health.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.