When it comes to exercising, there is a range of benefits. Working out a few times each week can help you maintain a healthy body weight, prevent health issues, help you sleep better, and more. Even though exercising seems like an overall healthy choice for your body, it can also have adverse effects on your oral health if you aren’t careful. Continue reading to learn about five ways that fitness and oral health are linked.
#1: Be Wary of Nutrition Bars
Nutrition bars are a go-to snack for many who exercise. They are advertised as a healthy alternative to sugar-filled snacks that will fuel your workout and keep you feeling satisfied. Unfortunately, these advertisements are often misleading.
Nutrition bars commonly contain dates, raisins, and other sticky foods. Since these are difficult to wash away, this allows bacteria in the mouth to feed on them for a longer period. These bacteria will then release acids that attack your enamel, therefore raising your risk of developing cavities.
#2: Skip Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are another common site at the gym or on the track. They are advertised as an excellent source of electrolytes, which assists your body in maintaining a healthy water balance. Electrolytes also promote good heart and muscle health.
Sports drinks are unfortunately also packed full of sugar. As previously mentioned, this contributes to the formation of cavities. Drink water instead since it will keep your mouth moist as well as wash away food particles to lessen your risk of tooth decay.
#3: Breathe Through Your Nose
After an intense workout, breathing through your nose may be difficult. This may lead you to breathe through your mouth until your heart rate returns to normal instead. This can cause your mouth to become dry, which creates an ideal environment for harmful oral bacteria to thrive. This puts you at a higher risk of developing cavities.
#4: Protect Against Oral Injuries
Contact sports like rugby, hockey, and football put you at risk of getting hit in the face. This may result in damage to your jaw, gums, and teeth. Wearing a mouth guard will protect your oral structures. They can be purchased at many drugstores and sporting stores, or you can speak with your dentist about having one custom-made.
#5: Avoid Jaw Clenching
When exercising, many people unintentionally clench their jaws. jaw clenching releases cortisol, which is a hormone that can lead to jaw misalignment or airway constriction. Clenching your jaw can also put additional pressure on your enamel and cause your teeth to wear prematurely. Additionally, consistent stress in the jaw joints may lead to bruxism. This condition is characterized by teeth grinding and jaw clenching and can cause chipped or cracked teeth, increased sensitivity, and enamel wear.
If you already work out or are planning on starting, be sure to take the necessary precautions to prevent dental damage. This will keep the connection between fitness and oral health from being a negative one so you can be on your way to a healthy body to go along with your beautiful beam!
About the Practice
Exceptional Dentistry is here to help you reach your oral health goals. Led by Dr. Beverly Rose, they take pride in keeping patient smiles in excellent condition. If you are a fan of working out, they can give you tips to protect your smile so the link between fitness and oral health is a positive one. To make an appointment or for more information, visit Exceptional Dentistry’s website or call their office at (321) 265-3286.