Dry Mouth


Experience From - Karl King , Kevin Sayers ,

Karl King

Scott Clark wrote:

"I thought I was the only runner with a sore mouth. For a day or two after an ultra, the roof of my mouth hurts whenever I eat. "
This used to be a problem for me after most very long runs or ultras. It is primarily caused by inhaling/exhaling a large volume of air over the hours, resulting in dehydration of the mouth. My dentist also noted that the same thing can happen to the teeth, making them more sensitive to hot and cold for 24 hours or so. I really noticed sensitive teeth after running the Steamboat Marathon when the air temperature was in the 70s while the dew point was only 16F - very dry air.

What has worked for me to eliminate the sore mouth is to carry fluids in a bottle and drink a small amount every 8-10 minutes. I think it also helps that the sports drink I use has a small amount of fat in it (MCT) and that puts a thin layer of fat on the tissues, slowing evaporation from them. I've had no instances of "sore mouth" since using that type of drink.

Kevin Sayers

Susan Wrote:

"I am a relatively new member of the ultra scene, which may actually be the problem. After each of the (5) 50K's I've completed, my esophagus, or diaphragmatic area, (I'm not sure which) is so bruised and sore feeling inside that I can hardly eat. Any food in my stomach seems to apply pressure on this sore area, which creates a tremendous sense of nausea and general "unwellness" . This feeling lasts for about 72 hours, and then completely disappears."
I use to suffer the same problem Susan described. Thinking it was possibly the liquid I was drinking I wrote to Karl King. Below is what he had to say:

"... The roof of the mouth phenomenon is due to breathing in large mounts of air for hours on end. It isn't the drink or food that you ate. I had it after Vermont and after some 50's run in dry weather. I got it in one marathon: Steamboat Springs when the air was warm and bone dry. It generally doesn't bother me if the air temps are low or the humidity high. If we have a rainy day at Leadville it probably won't be a factor. If it is dry, it is almost guaranteed. The best defense is to take frequent small sips so that you keep the mouth and throat moist. The other consequence of dry air that bothers me is tooth ache the day after. They just have a dull pain which fades in a day or two. My dentist confirmed that it isn't a tooth problem. Teeth are slightly porous, so breathing in lots of air dehydrates them and aggravates the nerves inside. Given the pace you ran at Vermont, you must have been breathing hard for hours on end..."
Since learning of this I've made it a point to take small frequent sips during races as well as hard training sessions and the problem has not occurred.