It’s midway into the summer and many people are striving to keep up with their exercise routines. Whether you choose to hit the gym, run outside, or engage in some other intense form of exercise, your body will thank you for putting in the extra effort. However, intense exercise causes some extra concerns for your oral health. Find out about the ways that oral health is affected by running and other types of exercise.
How Does Running Impact your Oral Health?
Cardiovascular exercise such as running is excellent for your heart health but can wreak havoc on your oral health. While the threat isn’t enough to justify quitting your routine, it is enough to get you to make a few adjustments. Here are the primary ways that exercise can threaten your oral health:
1. Breathing through the Mouth Dries it Out
When running or engaging in intense physical activity, it’s common to breathe through the mouth, and this usually results in dry mouth. Since the biggest defense against plaque and oral care is the natural saliva that comes from the mouth, this loss of saliva takes a toll on oral health. Simply staying hydrated by drinking water is an excellent way to alleviate dry mouth.
2. Sports Drinks are Full of Sugar
Gatorade, Powerade, and other sports drinks are so popular that they’re often sold in gyms. These drinks advertise that they’re ideal for athletes and good for replenishing electrolytes, but they have a not-so-hidden dark side – they’re loaded with sugar! The excess sugar in sports drinks is not good for your teeth, and it’s not going to help you reach your fitness goals either. Experts recommend avoiding the temptation of sports drinks and choosing water instead.
3. Frequent Snacking Can Be a Problem for Teeth
When running a long trail or putting in hours at the gym, it’s common to snack more frequently than usual. Furthermore, these snacks are often comprised of quick and easy ingredients that are supposedly made for athletes, but again, are filled to the brim with sugar. These sports snacks and protein bars often claim to provide amino acids and crucial nutrients, but it’s typically at the expense of tons of sugar. Paying attention to the ingredients can be useful when making smart snack choices.
Workout Often? Here’s How to Prevent Damage to Your Teeth
Working out often will enrich your life, so the answer to these oral care problems isn’t to stop running – it’s to make smarter decisions while you’re on the track. Minimizing damage from those three factors boils down to following these two precautions:
Keep a Healthy Diet
In the case of sports drinks and protein bars, sugar can be a major problem for your teeth and body. Check the ingredients list of your snacks and make sure sugar isn’t among the top ingredients. Looking at the nutrition facts will also provide a solid idea of whether a product is too sugary to be worth your time and money.
Stay Hydrated by Drinking Plenty of Water
Drinking water before, during, and after your workout will help your oral health in at least two distinct ways. First, staying hydrated will help prevent dry mouth, a condition which is terrible for the teeth. The second benefit to your oral health from drinking water instead of sports drinks is that you’ll avoid the extra sugar. Ultimately, there are several benefits to drinking water while working out, and some of them are advantageous to your oral health.
Talk to Dr. Altschuler about How Running Affects Your Oral Health
A lot of activities and lifestyle choices can impact our oral health in ways we don’t anticipate, and running is no different. If you like to workout regularly and stay fit, it’s important to keep your teeth in top shape – oral problems can jeopardize your ability to do what you love. Avoid any additional cavities due to running by keeping up with your home care and by making an appointment with Dr. Altchuler at our dental office in Gainesville, FL. Contact us today!