Happy 2016 from all of us at Really Smile Dentistry! We hope that your 2015 closed with holiday fun and enjoyment and that you’re ready to face the year ahead with all you’ve got. If you’re like a lot of our patients in and around Carmel you’re probably coming face to face with a new year’s resolution that’s going to be quite the challenge. And there’s a good chance that your resolution has to do with your physical fitness.
If that’s the case you’re in for a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. Through discipline, a good schedule, and the right attitude you can end up with the look you’ve always wanted. There are some other things you have to consider along with your exercise, though: diet, your daily schedule, and even your teeth need to be considered as part of your resolution. It’s true: even your smile can be affected by your workout.
Exercise And Your Teeth: There’s A Connection?
If it seems odd to you that your teeth are affected by your exercise routine we understand: they don’t really seem connected, do they? Multiple studies have proven something to the contrary, however: athletes, gym rats, and even people who are really into home fitness all have a much higher risk of developing tooth decay.
For a long time the assumption was that sugary sports drinks were to blame – your oral bacteria turns sugar into acid that eats away at teeth – but now we know that’s not the only problem. Studies performed on athletes have shown that exercise actually changes the makeup of your saliva, and not for the better!
At rest everyone’s saliva is the same: it’s your mouth’s natural defense against bacteria, food particles, and the acid they create. During a workout, however, the composition of a person’s saliva is found to be vastly different, even going so far as to inhibit its natural ability to fight decay.
There are proteins in your saliva that are an important part of how it fights off bacteria, and during exercise your saliva becomes more alkaline. This interferes with the protein’s ability to do its job, making you more susceptible to decay. It’s bad news!
Exercise also makes you produce less saliva. We always tell our patients how important it is to stay hydrated because that’s how your mouth produces saliva. Working out uses a lot of your body’s water reserves, so you naturally salivate a lot less. Your mouth is already in trouble because it isn’t fighting decay as well, and less saliva in general just makes the problem worse.
Lowering Your Tooth Decay Risk: It Isn’t That Difficult
So, exercise is weakening your mouth’s natural cavity defenses by messing with proteins and lessening saliva production. Add to that a steady diet of sports drinks during a workout and you’re really doing a number on your teeth!
Your workout resolution doesn’t need to be a death sentence for your smile, though. It doesn’t even need to be very difficult to keep your teeth healthy as a physically active person. You just have to make good oral hygiene a part of your new year’s resolution. If you’re already a tooth care professional this shouldn’t be very difficult at all.
- brushing and flossing needs to be done every day – no exceptions. Brush in the morning and evening, and try to do it before your workout. Since your mouth is having a harder time fighting decay you may as well give it an edge!
- Thirsty? Just drink water. Sports drinks are formulated to restore lost electrolytes, but in reality that only helps if you’re doing intense exercise for at least an hour. The sugar isn’t worth it, and regular intake of water during a workout will help you feel better and more energized just as well.
The Most Important Tip:
You can try every home care tactic in the world but you’re still not going to be able to clean all the plaque from the deep corners of your mouth. You also can’t identify potential problems before they become serious – that’s why professional dental checkups are so essential. Our Carmel dentist office can give you the edge to keep up every part of that new year’s resolution by ensuring your mouth stays healthy and safe for years to come!
Don’t be caught off guard by a new year’s cavity. Let us help you put your best smile forward in 2016! You can request an appointment by calling Really Smile Dentistry at 317-597-8748 or by filling out our online request form. We look forward to seeing you soon!