Exercise: Good for the Body, Bad for Teeth?

Throughout the past few years, there have been several studies that provide conflicting information on whether exercise is good or bad for your oral health. Our dental office in Boerne hopes that we can help clear up any confusion so you can get back to working out without worry.

The Benefits of Exercise

It goes without saying that everyone should exercise regularly to help get and keep the body healthy. No matter what your workout of choice may be, if it gets the heart pumping and increases breathing, chances are you’re benefitting from all the good exercise can do for your health. Exercise has been proven to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes all while keeping your body weight within a healthy range. But the benefits of exercising goes beyond arms, legs, abs, heart, and lungs and can actually help keep your mouth healthy, too.

According to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), those who exercised moderately five days a week, or at a high intensity three days a week, were at lower risk for gum disease. This is both great for oral health and whole body health since the effects of gum disease don’t only affect the mouth. Gum disease can cause a whole host of both oral health and whole body problems including bad breath, swollen, painful gums, tooth loss, certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke.

Potential Oral Health Concerns

When it comes to your oral health and exercise, it’s not all good news. While we don’t encourage anyone to stop exercising, we do want our patients and neighbors to be aware of how sometimes exercise can affect oral health.

There are essentially two common reasons exercise can cause problems in your mouth: Sports drinks and mouth breathing. Take a closer peek as to why.

Mouth Breathing

While breathing heavily is part of what makes exercise so great for the body, it’s also what can contribute to tooth decay and cavities. Heavy breathing tends to cause people to mouth breathe, or only breathe with an open mouth. This reduces saliva production and makes the mouth dry. A dry mouth is the perfect place for dangerous bacteria to thrive and cause decay.

Sports Drinks

Even though sports drinks do have their benefits, they’re also packed with tooth damaging ingredients. Sports beverages are a great option to help your body recover after exercise, but between the sugar and acid, they’re a recipe for decay.

If you’re concerned that your workout routine may be negatively affecting your oral health, schedule an appointment at our Boerne dental office. We’ll be more than happy to talk about your concerns and work with you to find the the best solutions.

What’s Occlusion and Should You Worry About it?

You may have heard us talk about your “occlusion” during your visits to our dental office in Boerne. But what exactly are we talking about when we speak about occlusion? Is it something you should worried about? Let’s take a closer look at what occlusion means and examine a few concerns that are related to it.

What is Occlusion?

Occlusion is just a fancy, scientific name dentists use to describe the bite, or how the upper teeth match up against the lower teeth when the mouth is closed or while chewing. You may have heard several ways we tend to classify a “bad bite” including overbite or underbite. All of these types of occlusion can lead to unique problems that should be corrected by a dental professional.

In More Detail: Crossbites, Overbites, and Underbites

There are a variety of bite problems that happen, but in this blog we’re going to examine the three most common.

  • Crossbite
    • Signs: A crossbite is usually suspected when one or more of the upper teeth fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
    • If left untreated: Crossbites can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth, gum disease, bone loss, asymmetrical jaw development, and jaw problems (known as TMJ or TMD).
  • Overbite
    • Signs: When the mouth is closed and the molars are touching, if the front top teeth completely cover the bottom front teeth, there’s a good chance an overbite is to be blamed.
    • If left untreated: An untreated overbite can inhibit teeth from functioning properly, leave the person at increased risk for gum disease and other gum problems, and wear down the front teeth.
  • Underbite
    • Signs: Opposite of an overbite, an underbite is when the lower teeth fall in front of the top teeth when biting.
    • If left untreated: Underbites usually result from either undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. If not corrected, teeth may not be able to function properly and can lead to painful TMJ/TMD issues.

If you suspect any potential issues with your bite, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to help you to determine what, if any, treatment would be appropriate to correct the bite for a healthy, pain-free smile that lasts a lifetime.