Did you know your exercise routine could cause dental problems? While exercise has proven to have numerous benefits for your body, some of your habits to promote a healthy lifestyle may be ruining your teeth.
Do you want to know how you can better maintain a healthy smile? Below are four ways your fitness habits hurt your dental health and some suggestions to protect your teeth.
1. Mouth Breathing
Breathing exclusively through your nose during an intense workout can be difficult. The method gives you the oxygen your body needs, but it also draws in extra bacteria. The amount of saliva is reduced, causing the mouth to become drier. Now, your mouth is the optimal place for the new bacteria to fester.
Consistently breathing through your mouth during your workout is one habit that may lead to premature tooth decay.
Talk to your dentist about your physical activity to learn about any preventative measures you can take to protect your teeth while working out. Don’t forget to thank them for keeping your smile healthy with one of the best gifts for dentists to let them know you appreciate their help.
2. Your Diet and Saliva Composition
We talked about how mouth breathing lowers saliva production in your mouth, leading to a higher number of bacteria remaining active. But bacteria isn’t the only thing you should worry about — some gym rats are at a higher risk for cavities because they have a higher pH level in their saliva.
The basic levels can stem from a heavy diet containing foods with carbohydrates and sugar. The foods you consume will alter the pH level of your saliva because of the bacteria it requires to break it down. Your diet as an athlete is one of the biggest culprits of having poor dental hygiene, even if you take good care of your teeth otherwise.
3. Consuming Sugary Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are an easy way to replenish electrolytes while working out but, they expose your teeth to an unhealthy amount of sugar and acid. Regular consumption of sugary sports drinks begins to damage teeth in as little as five days.
Sipping from the bottle may be better for your stomach when you’re moving around, but it continuously reintroduces your teeth to the acid that will cause them to erode quicker than if you were to finish the drink in a few gulps. Try coconut water or other low-sugar options if you want more than just water in your diet.
4. Suffering a Mouth Injury
If you’re careful to avoid any accidents, you may never experience a mouth injury while working out. But if you sustain any injuries to your mouth or teeth, you should see a dentist immediately.
The lack of treatment can lead to detrimental issues with the soft tissue of your gums, lips, inner cheek, and tongue, including infection. The loss of at least one tooth can cause the rest of them to shift. This shifting can make it difficult to eat and speak as bite problems develop.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to seek help for any injuries you sustain while exercising.
How to Protect Your Teeth
Your dentist can help you come up with a preventative plan to maintain your oral health. They might suggest wearing a mouth guard during certain physical activities, adopting breathing techniques that use the nose, and coming up with a new diet plan.
Don’t compromise quality oral health to prevent making changes to your fitness habits. You can be a great athlete and have healthy teeth.