How Does Exercise Affect Oral Health?

group of friends exercising

Everyone knows about the incredible benefits of working out, such as strengthening your body, reducing stress, building muscle, and improving your overall health. However, it may surprise you to learn that there are some serious downsides to exercising regularly. Not only can it increase your risk of joint damage, but it can negatively impact your oral health. So, before you start an intense exercise routine, here’s what you should know about the effects of exercise on your smile.

What Are the Most Common Oral Health Issues Among Athletes?

Generally, people who exercise regularly have excellent overall health. However, that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to oral health. Here are the two main causes behind dental issues in athletes:

Sports Drinks

Do you like to stay hydrated by drinking sports drinks or energy drinks? Even though they contain electrolytes that can help your body refuel, they also contain unhealthy amounts of sugar and acid. One study found that the acidity in these drinks is so high, it can wreak havoc on your teeth after only five days of consistent consumption. Instead, drink plain water whenever possible. It’ll quench your thirst, keep you hydrated, and protect your smile!

Open Mouth Breathing

When exercising, some people tend to breathe heavily with an open mouth. Unfortunately, this can dry out your mouth, reduce saliva flow, and create the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. As a result, your chances of cavities, enamel erosion, and decay are much higher. To prevent these problems, try and breathe through your nose as much as possible while working out.

The Positive Impact of Exercise on Oral Health

Even though exercise can be damaging to your oral health, it can also have a positive impact! A 2005 study published in the Journal of Dentistry found that regularly working out can help lower your risk of periodontal (gum) disease. A healthy body mass index (BMI) can also greatly benefit your teeth and gums. Since obesity is associated with issues like hypertension and diabetes, being a healthy weight can contribute to good oral health.

How to Protect Your Smile While Exercising

Oral health issues can arise from regular exercise, but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips to protect your teeth while working out:

  • Drink plenty of water! You can add a splash of lemon or a pinch of unprocessed salt to help replenish electrolytes.
  • Breathe through your nose to decrease your risk of cavities.
  • Practice good oral hygiene every day (brush at least twice a day, floss daily, and regularly rinse with mouthwash).
  • Wear an oral appliance to protect your teeth from any impact.

Now that you’re aware of how exercise can impact your oral health, you can take all steps necessary to keep your mouth and body in optimal condition!

About the Practice

At Sebastian Dental, we strive to make every appointment as comfortable, relaxing, and satisfying as possible. Our highly skilled and dedicated team will always go the extra mile to ensure every patient receives the dental care they deserve. To learn more about how exercise affects oral health, visit our website or call (772) 388-0088.

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