In recent weeks, the Washington Redskins' star defensive end, Albert Haynesworth has missed several practices and other preseason activities due to severe dehydration. He missed the first nine days of training camp due in large part to the problem.
His experience with dehydration underscores a major issue that affects many athletes. Failure to drink enough fluids before vigorous physical activity can result in serious issues. It may be important for athletes to keep this in mind as they prepare to head out onto the playing field.
One of the first warning signs of dehydration is dry mouth. Athletes may find that they have trouble swallowing, and their teammates may notice that they have bad breath, which is a product of dry mouth.
While dry mouth may be a symptom of a larger problem, if athletes regularly experience the condition due to poor hydration, it may lead to more serious complications. A mouth that is not producing saliva becomes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Many of these microbes cause infections that may lead cavities and gingivitis.
With the summer coming to a close, students across the country are heading back to school. High school students in particular will be rejoining their teams. Many will work out and participate in practices in the late afternoon heat after classes. The need for these children to maintain adequate hydration is great, considering the complications it can cause.
However, they are not being given a good role model. Many high school football players look up to and admire professional athletes. By failing to take proper care of himself and monitor his hydration levels, Haynesworth has missed an opportunity to move the matter into the public consciousness.
While some pro-athletes may fail at this, other individuals are working to bring hydration out into the public eye. "Thank God there are no fatalities in the football level so far. But in the northern part of the country, now is when high school practices start," Doug Casa, who researches the effects of dehydration, told USA Today.
However, he added that high school athletes would need to be careful to avoid the problem.
Athletes who are worried about the effects of dehydration can have on their oral health may benefit from looking into TheraBreath's line of mouthwashes that are specially formulated to moisten dry mouths. These products may help protect against these specific dangers of poor hydration.