If you care about your oral health, you may already pursue routine dental exams and cleanings, brush and floss regularly, and support your teeth through good nutrition. However, you may not know that exercise can also support your oral and dental well-being. Check out these four important points on the subject.
1. Exercise Can Reduce Periodontal Disease Risk
Research shows an association between activity level and periodontal disease risk. One study revealed that people who had engaged in regular exercise for ten or more years reduced their risk for this destructive gum disease by 54 percent compared to sedentary individuals.
The same study indicated that former smokers benefited even more from exercise than nonsmokers, with a 74 percent reduction in their periodontal disease risk. However, active smokers did not succeed in cutting their periodontal disease risk through exercise.
This reduced risk for periodontal disease may have something to do with the fact that exercise helps to control weight. An unhealthy body mass index (BMI) corresponds with a higher risk for periodontal disease.
2. Exercise Can Help You Avoid Diabetes-Related Dental Issues
Diabetes, an inability of the body to control its blood sugar levels, can have a serious impact on many aspects of your well-being, including your dental health. Untreated, this condition can promote poor gum healing, oral infections, gingivitis, periodontitis, dry mouth, and other tooth and gum issues.
Fortunately, you can manage your diabetes through a variety of treatment strategies, including exercise. Aerobic, resistance, or combined exercises can all help you reduce your insulin resistance, which helps to normalize your blood sugar and prevent diabetes-related dental complications.
Work closely with your dentist and your primary care provider to keep your diabetes under control. The right combination of dental care, exercise, diet, and medication can help you protect, not just your mouth, but your whole body against this disease’s damaging effects.
3. Good Dental Hygiene May Increase Your Ability to Exercise
Even as exercise boosts your dental health, good dental hygiene may increase your ability to keep up that healthy activity. You must keep bacteria from accumulating in your teeth or gums through decay or infection. These bacteria can enter your cardiovascular system, potentially causing hypertension and heart disease.
Brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings can keep this accumulation of bacteria from getting out of hand. This form of preventative care can help keep your heart and blood vessels strong. A stronger cardiovascular system allows you to engage in more exercise, which in turn boosts your dental and oral wellness.
Bear in mind, however, that you need to brush your teeth correctly if you want to protect your body’s ability to exercise. Researchers have found that brushing less than twice a day and/or for less than two minutes at a time may have three times the cardiovascular disease risk of those who brush more frequently and thoroughly.
4. You Need to Protect Your Mouth When Exercising
As beneficial as exercise may prove for your oral and dental health, you should take steps to minimize any indirect negative effects your activity might have. For instance, if you get your exercise through any high-impact sport, ask your dentist for a custom-fitted mouth guard or other protective gear for your teeth.
As you demand more from your body during exercise, you might find yourself breathing through your mouth in an effort to get as much oxygen as possible. This mouth breathing can dry the saliva that would normally protect teeth against bacteria. Hydrate regularly, preferably with water or a sugar-free sports drink.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can safeguard your oral wellness, schedule a visit to the caring professionals at Accent Dental. Contact our clinic today to set up your appointment.