Exercise should be an important part of everyone’s routine. People need to be physically fit, and the most obvious way of getting there is exercise. Exercise will help you live a longer and healthier life. The one thing that many people don’t think of is how exercise affects other parts of your body outside of your figure or build. For many of these parts, the benefits are positive. Your heart health can be improved through cardio work, for example. Your teeth, on the other hand, could be getting hurt by your regular trips to the gym.
Are You Working Out More Than Your Muscles?
How does exercising hurt your teeth? It sounds crazy. How can something that is supposed to be so good for your body be harmful for an important part of it? Well, the truth is that it is only harmful if you let it be. Here’s how:
Sweating Leads to Dehydration – During a good workout, you will sweat. This sweat is made of water and salt that your body is pushing out in an attempt to cool itself. The water that the sweat is made up of is coming from the available supply in your body. Your body cares more about cooling itself than it does about making sure that you have ample amounts of saliva, so the salivary glands can get shut down in favor of your sweat glands. A lack of saliva in your mouth opens you up to increased vulnerability of tooth decay. Saliva is the substance that washes away the bacteria and sugars that sit on your teeth and cause damage. Without it in your mouth, your teeth are in danger.
Sugar Levels in Sports Drinks – When you drink a sports drink, you are drinking a beverage that has an amazingly high amount of sugar and carbs in it. They have these ingredients to help you recover faster from your workout and get back the energy you need to keep going. The problem is that those sugars and carbs also help fuel the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria that causes gum disease feast on sugars and carbs from these drinks, and the fact that you have a reduced saliva level due to sweating does not help the situation at all. If the sugars sit on your teeth, it could cause tooth decay.
So, now you know what the dangers to your smile are from working out. The next step is figuring out how to beat these dangers and keep your body and your mouth in shape.
Protect Your Smile
The most important thing to do when starting a workout routine is to make sure that you are prepared. That means preparing yourself to protect your smile as well. Here are some ways to make sure you are not hurting your smile while trying to improve your waistline.
Water, Water, and More Water – The first thing you should do is make sure you are drinking plenty of water. There is one irrefutable fact about drinking water: that you can never drink too much of it. Water is the perfect hydration for when you are working out. The added sugars in sports drinks aren’t needed. Water will give you everything you need to keep your body and your smile safe during your workouts.
Sugar-Free Mints or Gum – Gum and mints will cause your salivary glands to kick into gear. The key is to use a sugar-free option. This way, when that saliva starts coming, it can begin to clear away the sugars and other substances that are putting your smile at risk. Take care of your smile with a quick sugar-free mint or piece of sugarless gum following your workout.
Make Sure You Brush and Floss – The one dental hygiene action that is applicable in pretty much every situation is brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing after a workout, especially if you eat or drink afterward, will hydrate your mouth, get your salivary glands working, and clear your mouth of the debris that puts your smile in danger.
Working out is something we all should be doing. We all could use the fitness help, but we also need to be conscious of how our workout routine is affecting our smiles. Be prepared to take care of more than just your bench press. Call our Panama City, FL office today at 850-588-0185 to schedule an appointment. Trust all of your preventive dental care to Dr. Patel and his staff at Panama City Smiles.