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How Fitness and Exercise Can Impact Your Oral Health

​​Working out is a solution for almost all of your health problems. So many people exercise daily to maintain their heath. Some people choose to go to the gym, some jog and exercise in the park, while some like to exercise inside their homes. Working out has more perks than it has cons, and it is probably one of the reasons we don’t spend much time hearing anyone say anything about the harms of exercising.

How Fitness Can Impact Your Oral Health

When we talk about the benefits of exercising and fitness, these are some things that come to mind:

  • Fitness gives you leaner and stronger body
  • Fitness gives you a healthier heart and brain
  • Fitness helps you relieve mental stress​
  • Fitness enhances your immunity

If we think of it, all these things are necessary for a person’s health, and one must do everything it takes to keep their body fit. ​However, fitness and oral health are not always in sync.

  • People who exercise frequently are more likely to develop cavities and also some other oral health issues.
  • People who do proper fitness training are prone to enamel erosion which can be related to their breathing and diet patterns. 
Two toothbrushes and a toothpaste tube oozing out

Negative Impacts of Exercise on ​Oral Health

When we talk about taking care of the oral health, we talk about maintaining a proper diet.

​Sugar Intake

Dentists ask you to avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks. People who do a lot of training especially cardio ​and kettlebell workouts, need excess sugar in their body and are highly dependent on sports drinks.

​These drinks are sugary and secondly, they all have preservatives meaning it can do double damage to the teeth. Preservatives can stay back in the mouth and give the bacteria the chance to slowly accumulate in the mouth and cause serious harm to your health. ​

Sports drinks do help you stay fit and hydrated, but they contain lots of electrolytes and have high acidic content. With such high amount of acids and preservatives, it wouldn’t take much time for such drinks to completely destroy your teeth. 

​Increase in Saliva

Another factor is that people who do cardio and strength exercises more, ​breathe more deeply and often with their mouth open. This reduces the amount of saliva in the mouth.

Saliva is very important for the health of the teeth. It neutralizes the harmful bacteria in the mouth. Such bacteria build up destroys the teeth. 

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Studies have shown that every other athlete suffers from dental issues. These athletes likely exercise a lot and drink several sports drinks. Their routine helps them stay fit and see the results they were going for, but that same routine causes serious harm to their teeth.

Studies have shown that there is so much acid in some sports drinks and consuming it for 5 consecutive days can lead to tooth infection. 

Similarly, heavy breathing which helps cure stress causes your mouth to produce less saliva. The shortage of saliva in your mouth exposes you to more teeth damage. Dry mouth also attracts more bacteria and can also cause gum infection.

​Positive Effects of Exercise on Oral Health

Apart from these, there are some benefits of exercising on the oral health side too.

​Regular Exercise Prevents Gum Disease

​People who are fit and exercise regularly have lower risk of periodontitis. People who work out and have never smoked in their life have better and stronger gums as compared to people who do not exercise or smoke.

If you visit a dental clinic, you could discover that people who exercise more have more dental issues.

​BMI and Oral Health

​You must have heard doctors telling you about maintaining a healthy BMI (body mass index). It is actually beneficial for your oral health too!

People who do not have a healthy BMI suffer from health diseases like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, so it’s important to consider what workouts you do and how often you do them based on your overall fitness level.

​These health issues can disrupt your​ sleeping pattern and has often been linked with people who suffer from sleep deprivation. In addition, sleep deprivation is linked to a lot of oral health issues. 

Keeping these points in mind, exercise does not have to hinder your oral health.

Lower body of a muscular man running on a highway

​How to Avoid Harmful Effects of​ Fitness on Oral Health

Here are some tips you can follow to protect your​​ oral health from the ill effects of exercising. 

​Keeping Yourself Hydrated

We just discussed that too much exercising can leave you out of breath which reduces the saliva in the mouth. Keeping yourself hydrated can solve that problem! Drink lots of water or coconut water to stay hydrated.

Another benefit of drinking lots of water is that it can immediately wash off the acidic contents of the mouth that have been added to the teeth after the consumption of the sports drinks. 

The same goes for coconut water. It is actually very healthy for you. It is not only hydrating, but it is also anti-inflammatory which helps make the gums stronger.

​Nose Breathing

​We mostly breathe with our nose, unless the conditions are different and we start breathing from our mouth. Nose breathing is good for our health, it increases the lungs oxygen absorption and also helps lower blood pressure.

During exercising, you are breathing from the mouth which increases your risk of tooth decay. But, if you do proper nose breathing exercises ​​​ and can train yourself to master that, that is ideal for working out.

By breathing through​ your nose during your fitness routine, you’ll stop your teeth from being exposed to a bacteria attack due to the lack of saliva. 

Woman's face in a dental clinic being checked up by a dentist in gloves

​Make a Dental Regime

​If you follow a healthy dental regime, you can prevent your tooth from any damage because of exercising.

The dental regime is simple and what you have likely heard of before: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly. Use a mouthwash regularly and visit a dental clinic every five to six months.

The dentist can sense the dangers to your teeth and could help you take necessary precautions before the conditions worsen for you.

Apart from that, take care of your diet. Eat more crunchy and leafy vegetables that will help cleanse your mouth.

Also, add more vitamins, minerals and supplement stacks in your diet. They will help balance whatever minerals your body is losing the form of sweat after exercising.

Robert Lemus is natural competitor for 6 years, starting in Men’s Physique, then Bodybuilding, and then into Classic Physique. He is the Orange County Bodybuilding champion in 2016 for the Musclemania Organization. In 2018, he received his Pro Card with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Classic Physique.