Do your teeth hurt when you run?

5 Star Rated Dentist in Bedford, Hema Mistry, explains the concept behind ‘Runners Teeth’.

Running is an extremely popular exercise amongst people of all age groups from teenagers to adults. You only have to look at the increasing number of ‘parkrun’ events springing up in all the neighbourhoods to see that this sport, which was once seen as quite an insular pastime, has now in fact become so much more sociable with whole communities looking to support each other for the common goal of fitness through running.

Being a lifetime runner myself, I can easily write about the many benefits of running on my life. Pounding the streets or the treadmill in the morning before work not only gives you an amazing adrenaline rush to start the day, and allows you the time to contemplate the events ahead of you.

Sometimes, however, running can be uncomfortable on the teeth. There are several reasons why this can occur and why you must visit your dentist if you have any concerns about your teeth.

1. Jaw joint dysfunction and muscle spasm.
Pounding the streets can be quite strenuous and at times when you are pushing yourself harder to reach your goal a little quicker, you may not notice that you are actually clenching your teeth together. This can lead to a mild to moderate discomfort of many of the teeth. When your jaws are clenched in concentration like this, the teeth can be pushed down beyond their natural tolerance and hence you can subsequently get a dull pain in several of the teeth. Sometimes this clenching of the teeth can lead to teeth being fractured and fillings falling out, and occasionally, the consequences can be even more severe so please do not delay in seeing the dentist. This problem can initially be easily treated by using a protective mouth guard.

This is a custom-made appliance which can be worn at times of stress to dissipate the huge forces that can be applied while clenching. Of course, a thorough examination would be warranted to see if there are any detrimental effects already incurred.

2. Sinus related problems
Sometimes pain in the teeth while running can be incurred because of residual infection in  the sinus area. You may notice that running is more difficult after you have had a heavy cold or an episode of sinusitis. The symptoms arise because there may be fluid in the air sinuses. This fluid sloshes around when you are in motion and thereby creating pain.

Often it is best to allow these symptoms to just resolve naturally. But you can help with the symptoms by taking some decongestants or Karvol inhalations in a steam bath. On the rare occasion, antibiotics may be warranted. Consult with your dentist or general doctor to confirm the diagnosis and for further advice on which treatment is indicated.

3. Cavities
If you have cavities present in your mouth the these can become painful on contact with cold air. Very sensitive teeth should always be examined by a dentist to rule out the possibility of cavities or decay in the teeth. Sometimes teeth can become sensitive because of gum recession due to gum disease. Present early to the dentist so that the right diagnosis can be made and the correct treatment given. Sensitive teeth due to gum recession can easily be treated by changing to a sensitive toothpaste.

Of all the problems that can be encountered while running, your issues with your teeth are probably easier to resolve. Please do not delay in seeking help from a dentist if you are experiencing any of the difficulties mentioned.