The benefits of physical activity for the body are well-documented, but only a few people know about the impact of exercising on oral hygiene. Next time you work out, remember that your mouth is also connected to your body and benefits from it in the same way.
Your body’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems have an interdependent relationship with your mouth and teeth. This means your oral health can impact your overall health and vice versa. Research shows a direct and positive link between exercising and improved dental health.
There is a key link between Body Mass Index (BMI) and oral hygiene. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology reported that those who maintain a normal weight and work out regularly had a 40% less chance of having periodontitis (gum disease). Other habits, like eating a balanced diet low in refined sugars and rich in fiber, vegetables, healthy fats, and fruits, also contribute to a lower risk.
Ways Exercise Can Improve Oral Hygiene
Gum disease is common in people with poor oral hygiene, resulting in painful chewing, bad breath, and potential tooth loss if not treated on time. Plaque, a thin film that covers the teeth due to lack of brushing, is the main cause of gum disease. Besides plaque, obesity is another risk factor that can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system due to the abundance of fat cells. Regular exercise can help keep your weight in check, lowering your likelihood of developing gum disease.
Exercise Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the leading causes of gum disease. When the gums become inflamed, more bacteria can make their way into them, thus aggravating the problem. Exercising can decrease inflammation throughout the body by reducing the number of inflammatory cytokines that lead to oral problems. On the other hand, it can also increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. If you are already struggling with gum disease, you can still control its severity by doing physical activity more often.
Exercise Maintains BMI and Oral Health
As discussed earlier, our dental health and BMI are interlinked. A study on the link between BMI and carious lesions found that people with a lower BMI had fewer cavity-causing lesions. On the contrary, those who had a higher BMI were found to have more carious lesions. A well-rounded exercise regime can help maintain your BMI, improving your oral hygiene.
Exercise Eliminates Stress and Keeps Teeth Healthy
Bruxism, or grinding teeth, is a condition mainly caused by anxiety or stress. Consistently grinding teeth can damage the enamel and result in tooth loss. Additionally, it can affect the jaw and sometimes even change the shape of the face.
Exercising helps relieve stress, and this can allow you to reduce or permanently get rid of your teeth-grinding habit.
You should create an exercise regime depending on your weight and medical conditions. Like all things, you should also exercise in moderation and consult with your doctor to discuss your specific needs. Besides, maintain good oral hygiene to improve your overall health.