There is no denying the fact that exercising on a regular basis is highly beneficial for your overall health. However, researchers have found that resistance and cardiovascular training can pose some challenges to your oral health. To learn about the impact exercise can have on your oral health, and to discover how to prevent a dental emergency, continue reading.
How Exercise Can Affect Saliva Production
During intense workouts, saliva production decreases, which can directly impact your oral health. That’s because saliva helps to flush away lingering debris and excess bacteria inside your mouth. With less saliva, the pH level inside your mouth can decrease, leaving a dryer, more acidic environment that invites new bacteria growth. As a result, you can be more susceptible to tooth decay and gum inflammation.
Other Challenges Posed to Your Oral Health
Here are two exercise-related habits that can have a significant impact on your oral health:
Drinking Sports Drinks
Sports drinks sales have topped $5 billion annually. This is partly due to very clever and aggressive advertising. While you may see your favorite professional athlete endorsing a sports drink, it’s not the healthiest habit to follow. Because of their sugar content, drinking sports beverages regularly can lead to bacteria growth and tooth decay.
Open Mouth Breathing
Like most exercise enthusiasts, you may sometimes breathe through your mouth after performing intense activity. Unfortunately, this can dry out the mouth, reduce saliva production and invite new bacteria. As best as possible, remain mindful of this and attempt to breathe through your nose.
For weightlifters, teeth grinding (bruxism) can sometimes become a problem, as it can unconsciously happen while attempting to complete a lift. The grinding action can wear down the enamel and leave the teeth more susceptible to cracking. Additionally, bruxism can contribute to a condition called TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, which is the painful dysfunction and inflammation of the apparatus that opens the mouth.
If bruxism continues to be a problem, you can ask your dentist about creating a custom mouthguard to be worn while exercising.
Why Water is Your Best Friend
Water is essential to your health, as the human body is comprised of nearly 80% of the life-promoting liquid. It’s especially important to drink water when you’re exercising, as it will help to prevent a dry mouth and provide a way to hydrate your system in a manner that isn’t detrimental to your teeth and gums.
Exercise isn’t Bad
Just to reiterate – exercising on a regular basis is a good thing, and it can actually have positive effects on your oral health. For example, it helps to regulate your blood sugar, which lowers the risk of developing gum disease. Furthermore, people who exercise regularly are less likely to be smokers or excessively consume alcohol, both quite detrimental to one’s oral health.
By approaching your exercise routine in the healthiest manner possible, you can reap the full benefits and prevent an unwanted dental emergency!
About the Author
Dr. Nancy V. Cabansag earned her dental degree from the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in California. For nearly 20 years, she has worked tirelessly to improve the oral health of her patients. As part of her commitment to excellence, Dr. Cabansag takes several hours of continuing education annually to stay abreast of the latest changes and advancements in dentistry. She promotes excellent oral health at Encore Dentistry, and she can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through her website.