There’s no doubt that exercising has numerous health benefits, including boosting your energy, combating diseases, and improving your sleep. But is there a link between exercise and healthy teeth? Does regular exercise improve or worsen your dental health?
How exercise can protect your teeth
One of the most common dental diseases found in adults is gum disease; about 80 percent of adults have some degree of the disease. Common symptoms of gum disease include bleeding or swollen gums, consistent bad breath, and feeling pain while chewing. In severe cases, this can lead to your teeth falling out. Risk factors for gum disease include high-sugar diets and diabetes. According to a study based on the data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, partially active people are 33 percent less likely to have gum disease than those who do not exercise regularly. Working out can also improve your body’s ability to use essential vitamins and minerals that are important for your dental health.
How exercise can worsen your teeth
On the other hand, a recent study concerning triathletes showed that triathletes had higher teeth erosion than non-athletes. Furthermore, the athletes who trained more weekly had more cavities than those who trained less. This difference can be blamed for two habits of endurance runners: carbohydrate consumption and dry mouth. Out of these athletes tested, 46 percent said they drank sports drinks and 74 percent said they ate gels or bars. This higher rate of carbohydrate consumption can increase the acidity of the mouth, which can lead to dental erosion. With endurance training, many athletes also breathe through their mouth leading to a dry mouth, which means they produce less saliva that usually works to protect teeth. One way to reduce teeth erosion after endurance training is to drink lots of water to neutralize your mouth’s pH level.
The bottom line
There is no straightforward answer to if exercise can better or worsen your teeth. But we know that regular exercise can boost your health in many ways. Even if endurance exercise can add risk for teeth erosion, you can easily reduce your risk of harming your teeth by brushing your teeth frequently after exercising. Sunnyside Dentistry recommends a regular two-minute brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Chewing sugarless gum after eating can also help reduce tooth decay.
And of course, a key component to maintaining healthy teeth is to visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings. Our expert team at Sunnyside Dentistry cares about your health and provides high quality dental service for the whole family in a comfortable environment. Schedule your appointment with Sunnyside Dentistry today.