Happy new year! It’s 2016, and that means flipping the pages on a whole new calendar just full of resolutions and life changes to be made. If you’ve committed to a big resolution then we want to say good luck from all of us at Edgewood Dental Care!
If you’re like a lot of people that resolution probably includes an element of physical fitness. In fact, over 25 percent of resolutions include losing weight and getting in shape. If you’re going to dive head long into the world of fitness there’s something you need to know: exercise increases your risk of tooth decay!
Decay And Fitness: The Big Link
It sounds odd to say that fitness would destroy your teeth. After all, getting in shape is supposed to improve your entire body! The complication comes from what exercise does to your saliva – you may not realize it, but saliva is an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth!
Your saliva is responsible for fighting decay by washing away food particles, oral bacteria, and the acid that the two interact to produce. As you know, exercise tends to consume a lot of your body’s supply of water, so when that happens you don’t produce nearly as much saliva!
For a long time it was assumed that less saliva was the reason that top athletes consistently had worse teeth than the average person. Recent studies have pointed out that isn’t the only factor, however: the pH in your saliva changes when you’re active as well.
Exercise actually makes your saliva highly alkaline, which is the opposite of acidic on the pH scale. Your saliva won’t actually harm your teeth, but that change does affect the proteins in your mouth that make your saliva so good at repelling tooth decay: it actually neutralizes their ability to function! Exercise is like a double-whammy of tooth decay risk: less saliva is present, and what’s there isn’t able to help!
The same studies that revealed the role that pH change has in tooth decay also found another interesting fact: the more exercise people do the worse their teeth generally are. Elite athletes often have horrible mouths – but they don’t have to, and neither do you!
Fighting Tooth Decay While Fighting Fat
Our Edgewood dental team wants you to get in shape and enjoy all the benefits that come with it. That means making sure you have a healthy smile to complement your new look! It might sound like a lot of risk when you hear what happens in your mouth due to exercise, but trust is: it’s worth it. You just need to know what to do to counteract the effects of exercise on your mouth. It doesn’t have to be hard, and you can keep your resolution!
Always brush at least twice a day and be sure you’re always doing it before you work out. If you give your mouth a good scrubbing there will be less dangerous stuff to put you at risk. It’s also important to floss nightly as well. Since your mouth’s ability to fight cavities is being altered you need to do everything you can to help. Plaque and food particles love to hide in the tiny hard-to-reach places of your mouth, and when they do they’re free to cause trouble.
Avoid sugary drinks and foods around the time you work out. Ideally you should limit your sugar intake the entire day, but especially before and after exercise. This goes double for sports drinks – those things are just loaded with sugar! Combine that with the dehydration you experience and you’re putting your mouth in a troubling spot. Stick to water – you can’t beat it when it comes to keeping your body healthy and working top-notch.
Keep your mouth healthy by making sure we see you every six months, especially if you’re greatly increasing your level of physical fitness. The exams we conduct can catch problems before they become serious, and the cleanings we perform will eliminate all that extra bacteria that builds up between visits. WIth proper care you can get in shape and keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime – it just takes dedication and discipline!
Get The Whole Health Package!
If you have the dedication to stick to a fitness resolution then you have the dedication to keep your mouth healthy too. We believe in your ability to get healthy and stay that way, and we want to help you achieve those goals in any way we can. Don’t hesitate to contact us right away if there’s anything we can do for your smile!