Teeth and Exercise: What’s the Link?

It is unlikely that you ever considered whether there was a connection between your oral health and exercise. After all, these two things appear to be quite distant from one another. For the most part, workouts have an effect on muscles and the cardiovascular system, not the teeth. Well, interestingly enough, it would seem that exercise does have an effect on teeth. While the research into this connection is still minimal, there have been some interesting facts uncovered: Athletes and Poor Oral Health Researchers took a look at the dental health of over 200 athletes. They discovered that these individuals were more likely to suffer from tooth decay, cavities, and gum erosion than the general population. After taking a look at all of the factors, it was determined that the levels of physical activity were the main link. In fact, the longer that a person worked out for, the more likely they were to experience dental issues. Let’s take a look at the causes of this.

What’s the Cause?

There are actually a couple of reasons that athletes are at greater risk from oral health than other individuals. To start with, athletes who run or perform for a longer period of time tend to do so with their mouth open. This, of course, is done unconsciously, to ensure that they are able to take in greater amounts of air and oxygen. Unfortunately, there is an unexpected consequence of this. When the mouth is left open for longer, it has a tendency to dry out. As you may be aware, the moisture levels in your mouth are actually what helps to keep it healthy. When these are lowered, bacteria have a greater opportunity to flourish. This, of course, increases the possibility for tooth decay and cavities. Another issue that was identified was that the more a person worked out, the more alkali their saliva became. It has long been assumed that too-alkaline saliva can encourage the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. There are other athletes that tend to clench their jaws and teeth together when they lift weights or do something that requires intense strength. Doing this a few time shouldn’t have any impact on your teeth but over a period of time, it can cause damage to your teeth. It may even have a negative impact on the alignment of your teeth.

Should You Stop Exercising to Protect Your Teeth?

Now, based on this information alone, it may seem that you should stop exercising to protect your teeth and gums. Well, before you do this, it is important to understand the boundaries of the study. It is only people who work out excessively that are at risk for these issues. All of the athletes that participated in this study worked out for around 9 hours a day, at least. So, working out in moderate amounts shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your dental health. Not to mention, further research has to be done on this matter to get more conclusive proof. Even athletes can do quite a bit to avoid dental issues. To start with, they can work out in shorter bursts and drink more water. These individuals can also take better care of their teeth, taking care to floss and brush their teeth. Finally, athletes may need to visit their dentist more often so that all issues can be tackled ahead of time.

Positive Impact of Exercise on Oral Health

Another thing to keep in mind is that exercise can actually be a rather good thing for your dental health as well. For instance, if you work out regularly – around an hour a day, a few times a week – you may be less likely to develop gum disease. In fact, you may be up to 54 percent less likely to experience gum issues if you keep up with your fitness. The other benefit is that frequent exercise makes it easier to maintain healthy body weight and BMI. In turn, you are less likely to suffer from issues such as hypertension and diabetes. These are medical conditions that can have a negative impact on your teeth. So, by working out, you can actually keep these problems at bay. In the end, the positive aspects of exercise far outweigh the bad. So, make to exercise regularly, engage in proper dental care, and visit your dentist in Turkey as needed.