How can exercise improve oral health?

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In today’s hectic world, if you have the time to floss once a day, brush twice a day, rinse regularly and consider your teeth in good condition, you will take your oral health for granted. And you will not think twice about it until you get a toothache, or they start paining.

But visiting the dentist to get the pain fixed is not the only reason why you should pay more attention to your oral health. High levels of bacteria in your mouth can make you vulnerable to some serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, endocarditis, and pneumonia. According to some doctors, pregnant women with poor oral hygiene may also experience complications during birth.

Caring for your oral health helps you remain healthy and also protects you from some potentially serious diseases. So, does visiting the dentist regularly, brushing your teeth properly, and remembering to floss are fine? Not completely, because it is now known that regular physical exercise can also improve your oral health.

Regular exercise has many documented benefits, including the ability to lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. However, it is now considered that regular physical exercise can also boost oral health. A study published in the Journal of Dentistry (British Dental Journal) showed that regular physical activity can boost periodontal health. To be more precise, people who exercised regularly had a 54% lower likelihood of developing periodontitis compared to those who led sedentary lives. It has also been revealed that exercising three times a week could result in a 33% lower percentage of developing periodontitis.

BMI and Oral Health

There is a vital link between people’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and their dental health. One study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that people who maintain a normal weight and exercise regularly had a 40% lower likelihood of having periodontitis. Other habits such as consuming a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet, which is low in refined sugars and high in fibre, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats also contributes to lower percentage.

Listed below are some of the ways which show that exercising regularly positively impacts the health of teeth and gums.

Regular Exercise Can Lower Your Risk of Developing Gum Disease

Gum disease or periodontitis is a common effect of poor oral hygiene. It can lead to bad breath, painful chewing, and possibly the loss of teeth if it is not treated in time. Plaque, which is the layer that covers the teeth if you have not brushed, is the primary reason why most people develop periodontitis.

However, plaque is not the only reason people develop gum disease. Obesity has also been identified as a risk factor. Studies suggest that abundance of fat cells can lead to increased inflammation and a weakened immune system – factors that can make an individual more susceptible to gum disease.

Regular exercise will help you to keep your weight down and simultaneously lower your chances of developing periodontitis.

Regular Exercise Reduces Inflammation That May Be Affecting Your Gums

Inflammation is one of the main reasons why people develop gum disease. As your gums remain inflamed, more bacteria can squeeze into them and cause problems.

Regular exercise can reduce inflammation throughout the body by decreasing the number of inflammatory cytokines which cause problems inside your mouth. Regular exercise could also increase production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Even if you have already developed periodontitis, you can still reduce its overall impact by exercising more frequently.

Regular Exercise Allows You to Maintain Healthy BMI, Teeth, and Gums

We spoke of the link between BMI and dental health including the connection between obesity and periodontitis. However, there is another reason why being mindful of your weight will also improve oral health.

A study focusing on the relationship between BMI (body mass index) and carious lesions unearthed some interesting findings. The study notes that individuals with a lower BMI had fewer cavity-causing carious lesions. Conversely, those with a higher BMI were found to have more carious lesions.

You can achieve your ideal BMI by taking up a regular regimen of isometric and isotonic exercises. Isometric exercises are useful for weight loss while the isotonic workouts are good for maintaining your best BMI long-term.

Regular Exercise Improves the Digestive System and Your Dental Health

Your digestive system is responsible for getting the nutrients out of the food and drinks you consume. If it is not functioning well, you could face or develop some serious health issues.

So, how can you make things easier for your digestive system?

  • Eating the right food helps. Fibre-rich items are highly recommended, and you should also drink enough quantity of water to wash away the toxins
  • Chewing thoroughly will help to digest food easier
  • Exercise improves blood flow, boosts metabolism, and just gets your body going in general which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your digestion
  • Improving your digestion can then help you absorb more of the nutrients that are essential for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums

Regular Exercise Alleviates Stress and Keeps Teeth Healthy

Grinding teeth or bruxism is a habit many people have when they are stressed or anxious. Constant grinding can wear down your teeth to stumps. In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. When these events happen, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed.

Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws and in some cases even change the appearance of your face.

You can effectively discourage teeth grinding by exercising more. Exercising will help free your mind from stress and subsequently get rid of any motivation to grind your teeth.

However, like everything, exercise should be done in moderation and possibly in consultation with your medical practitioner.

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