June 22, 2021
We all need to stay active in order to stay in good shape. Whether you like to run outdoors or shoot some hoops with your friends, you are helping to keep your body healthy. However, exercise isn’t always the best for your teeth for a variety of different reasons. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce the harmful effects that exercise has on your oral health. Continue reading to learn what they are.
Why Is Exercise Harmful for Your Oral Health?
Here are a few ways that exercise can put a damper on your dental health:
- Sports Drinks: Did you know that sports drinks are even worse for your smile than soda and juice? While they are a way to rehydrate you and replenish electrolytes after a grueling workout, you could be looking at enamel erosion and tooth decay in the near future. In fact, a study that was published in the clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry found that damage can occur after just five days of constant consumption! This is because the beverage contains so much acid and sugar.
- Mouth Breathing: When you are exercising, you may find yourself breathing heavier with your mouth open in order to bring more oxygen into your body. However, when you do this too much, you develop dry mouth. This is when there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth, and ultimately, bacteria have the perfect environment to thrive in. This means a higher chance of developing gum disease and cavities.
- Jaw Clenching: Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, are both common during high-intensity workouts. If you are frequently engaging in strenuous activities, this can become an issue over time. Not only can you damage your teeth, but your jaw joints are also under a lot of stress.
How to Limit the Harmful Effects of Exercise on Your Teeth
This shouldn’t be an excuse for you to be sedentary. Instead, take the following steps so you can stay active while keeping your smile healthy:
- Use an Oral Appliance: If you’re known to clench your jaw and grind your teeth, wearing an oral appliance can help to prevent damage. This provides a thin barrier between the upper and lower teeth to protect your teeth, jaw, and facial and neck muscles.
- Breathe Through Your Nose: Make an effort to breathe through your nose as much as you can during your workouts. This way, you can keep your mouth from drying out.
- Go Easy on Sports Drinks: Water is the best thing for you to drink when you exercise. If you’re worried about getting enough electrolytes, try drinking coconut water instead. It has no added sugar and tastes delicious.
Exercise is great, but no one wants a dental emergency. By using the steps listed above, you can keep your smile healthy while staying in shape!
About the Author
Dr. Jack B. Share is an experienced dentist who has been working in the field for more than four decades! He earned his dental doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and graduated with high honors. Currently, he is a proud member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, and several other professional organizations. For more information or to schedule an appointment at his office in Boston, visit his website or call (617) 742-1350.
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