Happy new year from all of us at New Albany Implants! We hope your holiday season was enjoyable and we hope that your 2016 is one of great excitement and personal growth, especially if you’ve made some new year’s resolutions. If you’ve chosen 2016 to be the year you finally get into shape then good luck – it’s a challenging resolution to stick to!
If you are planning on making 2016 a year of physical fitness we do want to warn you: athletes and even people who keep an exercise habit have a higher risk of tooth decay. It’s definitely manageable with the proper preventive steps, but understanding why your risk increases is essential.
The Link Between Exercise And Oral Health
When you think about exercise and your health it seems strange to think that it could actually harm your teeth, doesn’t it? Trust us: we think it sounds odd when you first hear it too, but that doesn’t make it any less true!
Where things go wrong is with the makeup of your saliva. Normally your saliva does a good job of keeping your mouth clean of bacteria, food particles, and the acid their interaction creates, but exercise limits saliva’s ability to do that. Studies performed on athletes during exercise compared to while they were at rest confirmed the connection due to a pH change. Even the smallest shift can make a world of difference!
You also tend to produce a lot less saliva when you’re exercising, which makes it even harder for your mouth to defend itself. Combined with the fact that it simply isn’t doing its cavity fighting job as well and you have a potentially tooth-destroying situation on your hands!
The dehydration that a lot of athletes experience is countered by sports drinks, which don’t do nearly as much good as you’d think. All of the different varieties contain an incredibly high amount of sugar, making them a poor choice for your mouth, especially during a workout. The ability for sports drinks to replenish electrolytes is really only a benefit to athletes who are working out hard for at least an hour. If you’re just going for a morning jog you aren’t getting much from them: we recommend just sticking to water!
How Big Of A Difference Does Exercise Make?
It’s a well known fact that professional athletes have oral health problems that are far worse than the general population. You may be thinking that you’re far from a pro, and so there’s not that big of a risk for you, right? Think again.
The changes that your mouth experiences because of exercise may not be drastic, but even the smallest bit of change to your saliva and decay-fighting ability can be devastating over time. In the course of a single year of consistent exercise you may find yourself developing cavities that are likely there because of a change in your fitness routine.
Even the smallest degree of risk is dangerous for your mouth: the damage caused by plaque acids is cumulative. It might not show up right away, but over time increased risk factors will make a difference.
Protecting Your Smile
You don’t need to give up on your fitness dreams because of a fear of tooth decay. It’s not hard to protect yourself by following a few easy steps.
- Make sure you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, both during your workout and throughout the day. Hydration is essential for maintaining your oral health, especially with increased risks of tooth decay!
- Brush your teeth in the morning and evening, and be sure you’re flossing daily as well. For an added boost brush your teeth before you work out. If your mouth is going to have a harder time fighting cavities you should do everything you can to make it easier!
- Make sure you aren’t neglecting professional dental care like the kind we provide at our New Albany office. You can do everything in your power to fight decay but it doesn’t substitute for a professional exam every six months. By being proactive about your oral health you can make a huge difference in your future.
Look Good With Fitness And A Healthy Smile!
You don’t need to sacrifice one for the other. In fact, we’d love to help you keep your resolution and a great new smile! If you’re ready to find out what we can do to help protect, preserve, and restore your teeth call us today!