Exercise is generally accepted as being an excellent way to boost every aspect of our overall health, you may not expect that it may pose a risk to your oral health. While it’s true that working out can help you lose weight, improve sleep and energy, and make you able to move more freely and without pain, there is a dark side. Certain habits that exercise enthusiasts have help impair the body’s ability to fight decay. Thankfully these elements of a healthy lifestyle are well understood, and there are ways you can address them while staying healthy.
How Exercise Is Impacting Your Oral Health
Thankfully the leading causes of tooth decay related to exercise are simple to address, but you have to be aware of them. Gum disease is a serious concern, and anything that contributes to its development and advancement is a risk to your beautiful smile. If you’re engaging in an active lifestyle that includes lots of exercise, keep the following things in mind to protect your oral health:
- Mouth Breathing: One habit of those who push themselves physically is breathing through their mouth, especially as the exercise gets more intense. While the body needs enough oxygen to keep you going, mouth breathing dries out saliva causing dry mouth. Saliva is one of our body’s front line defenses in the fight against gum disease, serving to protect our teeth and aid in remineralization.
- Sports Drinks: To counter dry mouth, many exercise enthusiasts will down sports drinks to keep themselves hydrated and ready to keep working. The problem is that many sports drinks are high in sugars and acid and can actively work against your enamel. It’s OK to drink sports drinks to recover after a workout but stick to fresh, clean water during your workout. It would help if you also considered rinsing after drinking your sports drink.
These two conditions contribute more than any other to poor oral health in athletes. Managing these conditions by minding your breathing and staying hydrated with water instead of sports drinks will be an effective way of boosting your overall results. Exercise is an essential part of enjoying a long and healthy life, so don’t let these concerns stop you.
But It’s Not All Bad News
With those concerns addressed, we want to emphasize that while there are risks to your oral health from exercise, there are benefits as well. While decay can be aided by mouth breathing and sports drinks, these concerns are controllable. When managed properly, those who frequently exercise actually see an improvement in their oral health, with instances of gum disease dropping noticeably. Some of this may be due to better dietary choices, but research has revealed that moderate exercise has a direct impact on the appearance of gum disease. Exercise really is the panacea that can improve our health all around. If you’re worried that your oral health may be being impacted by your time working out, contact your dental care provider for an appointment and consultation.