Athletes don't need to have a dry mouth syndrome to get bad breath
SUMMARY: Many athletes complain of bad breath, and even though few have a full-blown dry mouth syndrome, many still suffer from a parched palate.
Posted: January 31, 2012
Whether you play sports, lift weights or go jogging every so often, chances are high that you've gotten bad breath after a good workout. (If only you could get good breath after a bad workout...) You may also have noticed that physical activity can leave your mouth super-parched. What's going on here? Do you have a dry mouth syndrome, or is something else at work?
The good news is that dry mouth syndromes are fairly rare. Consider one that has gotten some recent attention in the news: Sjogren's syndrome. This is an inherited condition that causes your mouth and eyes to be chronically dry. Experts at Johns Hopkins University estimate that about one in 200 people have Sjogren's.
If this problem sounds familiar, it may be because tennis star Venus Williams recently revealed that she has been diagnosed with it. However, there is no known connection between being an athlete and having a dry mouth syndrome.
In fact, if you get a parched throat after workouts, the solution may be as simple as drinking more water and using a mouth-moistening rinse at night.
Part of the issue is that when athletes get dry mouth, they can end up with bad breath. By using an alcohol-based mouthwash to freshen their breath, they may be unwittingly making their dry mouth even worse (since alcohol parches oral tissues).
So, drink plenty of water and stick to oxygenating, alcohol-free specialty breath fresheners!
A couple of things to keep in mind:
- Dehydration is a serious problem among young athletes, which is why pushing fluids is essential. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking regular water breaks, even if you don't feel thirsty yet.
- Sjogren's syndrome is also fairly serious, since it is an autoimmune disorder. If you suffer from chronically dry eyes and mouth, consider mentioning this to your primary care physician.