We all know that exercising is great for living a healthier lifestyle. The benefits of exercise improve our physical and mental well-being, but did you know that exercise also improves your oral health as well?
According to research, regular exercise is effective for improvement in periodontal disease and decreases the chances of developing it in the first place.
A regular exercise routine can help to keep your smile strong not only because of the endorphin boost but also because it improves every single system in the body, which leads to healthy teeth!
So the question is, what are the other benefits of exercise for oral health? How can moving our bodies help us to achieve healthy teeth?
Thankfully, we’ve created this article to answer those questions. Keep on reading to learn more about the relationship between exercise and oral health.
Let’s get started!
How Does Exercise Relate to Oral Health?
You may be wondering how exercise and oral health are even correlated. Since exercise lowers your chances of developing diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancers, and other conditions that are connected to oral health, it indirectly benefits your dental hygiene by improving your overall health.
1. Exercise and Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the main reason for adult tooth loss. Bacteria builds up in the mouth which eventually leads to inflammation that causes painful and bleeding gums.
According to a study done by the British Dental Journal, the non-smoking people who exercised were 54% less likely to develop periodontal disease than those who refrained from exercise.
Gum disease is also triggered by inflammatory responses to other diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so by lowering your risks of those diseases, you are indirectly improving your oral health.
2. Exercise, Digestion, and Oral Health
Exercise improves your overall digestion by increasing blood flow to the muscles of the digestive tract. This helps your body to move, absorb, assimilate, and eliminate food throughout the entire digestive process.
Your digestive system helps you to absorb all the essential vitamins and minerals that help to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Absorbing the right nutrients will also help to reduce inflammation in your gums, which lowers the chance of gum disease.
Exercise also increases salivation in the mouth, which is essential for good oral health. When saliva production goes down, the mouth becomes dry which leads to breeding grounds for bacteria. Eventually, this leads to a buildup of plaque that causes gum disease and tooth decay.
3. Exercise, Obesity, and Oral Health
Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) is a sign of overall good health. If your BMI gets too high, you are at risk for developing obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and numerous other health conditions.
One study discovered that those who maintained a healthy body mass index were overall healthier, and had more nourishment in their diet that improved their oral health.
People who exercise more tend to eat healthier, so it is quite obvious that a diet rich in vegetables, healthy fats, and wholesome ingredients is much better for your oral health than a diet full of fast food, refined sugars, and processed junk.
People who live healthier lifestyles tend to make healthier life choices including choosing not to smoke, which in itself, has numerous health problems that can completely rot your teeth.
4. Stress, Exercise, and Oral Health
Every time you exercise, your body produces extra neurotransmitters called endorphins, which are called dopamine and serotonin. These endorphins help you to feel that “post-workout high” and pump up your happiness level a bit more.
Over time, regular exercise increases your self-confidence and lowers the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise also lowers cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for stress, anxiety, and depression.
Constant stress can do a number on your oral health, as it causes people to clench their jaws and grind their teeth. This constant tension wears down the enamel in the teeth, chips teeth, causes them to crack, exposes the nerves, causes nerve damage, recedes the gums, and causes tooth decay.
The more you exercise, the less stress you will have, which can overall reduce your chances of poor dental hygiene.
5. Exercise, Posture, and Oral Health
Chronic poor posture can lead to multiple structural problems with oral health. For example, someone who slouches will cause the lower half of their jaw to push forward, causing the skull to lean backward and compress the spine.
Constant postural issues cause oral problems such as:
- Misaligned teeth
- Jaw issues
- Loose teeth
- TMJ ( temporomandibular joint) problems
- Cracked teeth
- Uneven wear on the teeth
- Broken teeth
- Inability to chew properly
- Pain when chewing and swallowing
A sedentary lifestyle leads to poor posture, which ultimately will affect your oral health. Regular exercise strengthens the appropriate muscles that lead to proper posture, improving your overall oral health.
6. Oral Health and Heart Disease
Numerous studies have shown the connection between oral health and heart disease. Poor dental hygiene increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the bloodstream. Eventually, this infection can make its way to the heart valves, which causes heart disease, coronary artery disease, and even heart attacks.
Many researchers have discovered oral bacteria within the atherosclerotic blood vessels that are located far from the mouth.
Regular exercise and a daily oral health regimen will help you to reduce your chances of developing serious heart conditions related to poor oral health.
Learn More About the Benefits of Exercise For Healthy Teeth
There you have it! Taking care of your overall health with a proper diet and exercise will ultimately improve your oral health as well. The benefits of exercise are endless, and it is essential to find a routine that will stick to and enjoy.
To learn more about how to improve your oral health, feel free to contact us at any time to set up an appointment.