From the New York Times: Vigorous exercise is good for almost all of the body — except perhaps the teeth, according to a surprising new study of athletes. The study, published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, found that heavy training may contribute to dental problems in unexpected ways.
And we’re not talking about a boxer taking a fist to his teeth or hockey players receiving their obligatory dental re-work from a puck in the mouth.
Dentists examined 278 athletes at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London reported that a majority displayed “poor oral health,” including high levels of tooth decay, often in conjunction with gum disease and erosion of the tooth enamel. The athletes came from the United States and Europe as well as less-developed parts of the world, and most had access to good-quality dentistry, although many had not visited a dentist in the last year.
The study didn’t examine why the athletes were at such high risk of dental problems, although many of us might assume that sugary sports drinks and bars would be a primary cause. Other studies, however, have found little if any link between consuming sports drinks and developing cavities.
Compared with a control group, athletes showed significantly greater erosion of their tooth enamel. They also tended to have more cavities, with the risk increasing as an athlete’s training time grew. Over all, the more hours that an athlete spent working out, the more likely he or she was to have cavities.
The researchers found no correlation, however, between consuming sports drinks or any other elements of the athletes’ diets and their oral health.
They also found no differences in the amount or chemical make-up of their volunteers’ saliva after the athletes and the non-athletes had been at rest.
But that situation changed when the athletes worked out. During their experimental runs, the amount of saliva that they produced progressively lessened, meaning that their mouths became drier, regardless of whether they consumed water or other beverages during the workout. The saliva’s chemical composition also shifted, growing more alkaline as the workout continued. Excess alkalinity in saliva is thought to contribute to the development of tartar plaques on teeth and other problems.
“All we can say” based on the data from this group, Dr. Frese said, “is that prolonged endurance training might be a risk factor for oral health.” Whether less frequent or intense exercise would likewise affect oral health is uncertain but unlikely.
So, here’s the problem: If you have a sports addict in your life, you know that their extreme workouts may be bad for their smile… so what do you do?
Incorporate teeth brushing into their workout routine, adding wrist weights to the process for resistance-training-teeth-brushing? You’d end up with huge forearms, but as I recall Popeye had really nice teeth.
Next, comedian Michelle Miller Harrington calls into the show to discuss the problems that she has had recently with people trying to understand her through her adorable southern accent. Apparently, some people around the country don’t find it very adorable.
At one restaurant, Michelle ordered chicken and taters. The waitress simply stared at her and asked, “Are you from America?” Even when she tries to overcome her accent, everything comes out… of… her… mouth… very… slowly. And, even if people do understand her, they associate her with the most unwanted fellow southerners like Honey BooBoo. Bottom line is that Michelle is hoping to just raise awareness for this condition that she has, known as “Southern”… which is a heck of a lot better than being stricken with the “Wisconsin Curds”, doncha know.
Finally, my great friend and comedic ventriloquist David Pendleton is our featured comic this week, as he calls in from the road. David just got back from a week in Africa, performing with World Hope, which offers discipleship, outreach and relief programs throughout the world. During his week with World Hope, David spent a lot of time in various prisons – not because he can’t stay out of trouble, but as a part of the organization’s outreach program. This brought back a flood of memories for David, especially back when he performed at a prison for the first time. The emcee that day couldn’t quite figure out how to introduce him, and introduced his act as merely a “puppet show”… just what hardened inmates want to hear!
One interesting thing that David learned while in Africa, though is that ventriloquism is virtually unheard of throughout the entire continent. So, each time he started his act, he would look out and see this look of bewilderment on the faces of his audience – not because of a language barrier, they spoke English just fine. They simply couldn’t figure out how this whole thing worked! To get over that hurdle, David actually had to set the characters of his act down and explain to the audience that he was doing all the voices. Then, just as a demonstration, he would do one character’s voice without moving his lips, and the audience would erupt in applause! That in and of itself was stunning for them since ventriloquism is not an art form that they are accustomed to seeing. The tough part was not knowing if they actually found him funny or not. They were so mesmerized by David throwing his voice, he couldn’t tell if their laughter came from them getting the jokes or just not knowing what to do when someone speaks in another voice without moving their lips.
Now, keep in mind that David’s been at this for a long time. His first ventriloquist performance came when he was only eight-years-old! With the Muppets and Sesame Street as his inspirations, he quickly discovered that through his characters, he could get away with so much. In David’s eyes, it’s almost like comedically cheating, since he can use his moments with the characters and props that other comics can’t do, since all they stand with is a microphone stand.
You can catch more from David at his website: anythingcantalk.com
And, for more entertaining and encouraging podcasts and videos, visit the E-Squared Media Network at www.e2medianetwork.com