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The Fascinating Relationship between Fitness and Dental Health
Healthy and beautiful teeth
Photo by Marcelo Matarazzo on Unsplash

Research has proven, time and time again, that staying physically active is about so much more than sporting a ripped physique, maintaining a healthy weight, or boosting our confidence through the achievement of ever-increasing challenges. It is also known as an important way to fight stress, boost our mental health, and, as per a recent scientific discovery, to promote better dental health.

Obesity, Exercise and Gum Disease

The above mentioned study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, followed 1,160 subjects aged 20 to 77 who participated in health examinations at a health center in Japan. Doctors studied their gum health, measured their Body Mass Index (BMI), and gauged their fitness levels by estimating their maximal oxygen consumption during exercise. Results showed that those with the lowest BMI and highest fitness levels, had a significantly lesser risk of severe gum disease, than their counterparts. Researchers concluded that being obese and unfit, can have an interactive effect on periodontal (gum) health status.

To keep periodontal disease at bay, it is important to brush and floss teeth twice daily, but also to visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleaning. If you have a private plan then chances are dental cleanings are covered; however, even on Medicaid, 32 states provide aid with preventive dental care, and restorative and periodontal work. Keeping your gums in a healthy state is very much a matter of prevention and early detection of disease, so yearly check-ups at the very least, are vital. Moderate exercise and a sound nutritional plan will also ensure you reduce your chances of dental disease.

Gatorade Performer sports drink -  35 grams of sugar per 591 ML

Watch Out for Energy and Sports Drinks

One study published in the journal General Dentistry, found that energy and sports drinks are so acidic, they begin wreaking havoc on teeth in only five days of consistent consumption. The problem is especially serious on youth since around 50% of American teens use sports drinks to boost their performance. Poonam Jain, author of the study, noted, "Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid." Exercising with our mouth open can also lead to cavities, since it leads to mouth dryness, and saliva plays an important role in preventing erosion and cavities. To stay hydrated during your fitness routine, opt for drinks that are gentle on teeth including water or additive-free coconut water.

The next time you think about improving your dental hygiene routine, remember to add a dash of exercise to your daily brushing and flossing. Staying at a healthy weight will keep gum disease and ensuing tooth and bone loss at bay. Additionally, swap sugary, acidic energy drinks for plain water or additive-free drinks that are low in acidity.


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