It is well known that exercise is essential for good health. Can it harm your teeth in the long run? A number of studies found by our Vienna, VA dentist have linked fitness and exercise habits with increased risks of tooth decay and erosion. Some of the ways in which exercise can influence our dental health are as follows:
Exercise that involves heavy mouth breathing can reduce saliva production and cause your mouth to be dry. Saliva contains minerals and enzymes that protect against decay-causing bacteria. During exercise, try to breathe through your nose as much as possible, and drink plenty of water before, during, and after you exercise to prevent your mouth from drying out, which can lead to tooth decay. Brushing your teeth before exercising will help you reduce the presence of bacteria and plaque on your teeth.
Clenching your teeth
If an athlete puts a lot of effort into lifting weights, they can clench their jaws. Studies have shown that clenching your jaw can result in wear on your teeth and possible tooth fractures. In order to protect your teeth from clenching, you may want to wear a mouth guard. Generally, mouth guards can be purchased from most drugstores or sporting goods stores, or you can have a customized mouthguard made by your dentist. We encourage everyone who participates in sporting activities to wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth.
Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar and have been shown to be 30 times more erosive to your teeth than water, so they can potentially do a great deal of damage. These drinks contain citric acid, which can soften the enamel of the teeth to the point that even brushing the teeth after consumption can be dangerous. Therefore, you should drink water instead of sports drinks to prevent these negative effects. It is also advisable not to sip on sports drinks over an extended period of time, as this creates a continual sugar bath for your teeth. If you do consume a sugary drink, it is best to drink it in a small window of time, then rinse your mouth with water afterward.
When we consume foods or drinks containing any form of sugar or carbohydrates, our mouth develops an acid that attacks the enamel of our teeth for 30 minutes. Our teeth can recover from three of these attacks a day, which includes our meals. It is best to consume sugar and carbohydrates at one time rather than continuously throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water after sugar or carbohydrate consumption can help reduce the acidity levels in our mouths.