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Sweat and Smiles: How to Protect Your Oral Health During Exercise

January 30, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — oshkoshcomplete @ 8:30 pm
Man smiling and eating salad after exercise

As you begin your sprint into a fitter body in the New Year, it’s important to prioritize both your physical and oral health. While exercise offers numerous benefits for your body, certain habits and conditions associated with workouts can affect your teeth and gums. If you want to learn more about the three most harmful habits and what you can do to stop them, read on!

1. Mouth Breathing Causes Dry Mouth

Proper hydration is essential for both your body and your teeth. When you exercise, especially during intense workouts, you may experience increased breathing through your mouth. This often leads to dry mouth which can leave your teeth vulnerable to oral bacteria.

Saliva helps protect your teeth by neutralizing acids and washing away food particles and bacteria. So, drink water regularly during exercise to combat dry mouth and keep your teeth protected.

2. Pre and Post-Workout Snacks

Many athletes and gym-goers grab snacks to fuel their workouts and re-fuel afterward. While this is a great strategy to keep your body full of essential nutrients, some people reach for highly processed and sugary foods. A lot of these protein bars and sports drinks contain more sugar than anything else.

Read the label on your snacks and choose tooth-friendly options like fresh fruits, vegetables with hummus, cheese, yogurt, or nuts. These snacks provide the right nutrients for recovery while helping maintain your oral health.

3. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Intense physical activity, stress, and dehydration all contribute to teeth grinding. This habit can lead to tooth wear, jaw pain, and other dental issues. Pay attention to any signs of teeth grinding during or after exercise, such as jaw discomfort or tooth sensitivity.

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, consult your dentist for guidance on preventive measures, such as wearing a mouthguard during workouts.

Simply being mindful of how your habits affect your dental health can help protect your teeth during exercise. As you work to achieve a healthier body, don’t neglect your teeth in your plans. They are as much a part of you as your abs and biceps. If you need more guidance on best practices as you work toward your New Year’s goals, talk to your dentist!

About the Author

If you need a dentist who understands the ins and outs of physical activity, Dr. Bob Heil has you covered. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Minnesota. Since then, he has explored many continuing education opportunities in multiple fields of dentistry. Call (920) 235-0320 to schedule an appointment at Oshkosh Complete Dentistry or visit the website to look at other services they offer.

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