At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ, we value all-around good health. And as part of taking care of yourself, we especially value good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings for a long-lasting, beautiful smile.
Will Exercise Help or Hinder that Beautiful Smile?
When looking at the general populace, studies have shown that exercise helps. For adults who follow the government’s recommended guidelines for physical activity, exercise helps keep their gums healthy by reducing the risk of gum disease. In one study, nonsmokers or former smokers who did moderate exercise 5 times each week, or did vigorous exercise 3 times per week for a period of 10 years, had a significantly lower risk of periodontal disease—as much as 55 percent lower for nonsmokers and a whopping 75% lower for former smokers!
On the other hand, for a certain group of people, exercise can both hinder and help dental health. If you’re a triathlete or you’re planning to train for the Olympics, you may want to be extra attentive about taking care of your teeth. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicated that dentists who examined 278 athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games found that most of the athletes had poor dental health. A New York Times article on the study went on to indicate there were two contributing factors: dry mouths and a change in the saliva structure of the athletes while doing strenuous exercise.
As athletes exercised, the amount of saliva lessened, meaning their mouths became drier. And, the saliva they did produce during exercise gradually changed to a more alkaline composition, which is thought to contribute to a buildup of plaque and tartar on teeth. We’ll talk more about the benefits of saliva in our next blog post.
But as for exercise, the general rule of thumb is, don’t give up your workouts for the sake of your pearly whites. If you’re an Olympic athlete or you train heavily in sports, you might want to ask your dentist how to protect your teeth during active physical training. For the rest of us, go ahead and exercise, and you’ll be kind to your gums, as well as to your whole body. And if you’re in the Gilbert, AZ area, we’ll be thrilled to help you care for your gums and teeth and give you experienced, counsel on any dental needs you may have. We’re as interested in your beautiful smile as you are, so stop on by our office at Lifetime Family Dental and meet us!