Being in your twenties is a great time. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and never have to worry about whether it will affect the way you look. You have a metabolism that is the natural equivalent to a blast furnace. This blast furnace burned through everything, and all you had to do was let it go. That is the joy of youth. But like all great things in life, this changes when you hit your thirties.
Exercise is a key component to shedding those pounds that you put on when you get older, but there may be a hidden danger for your teeth. No one really talks about it, because many people don’t have any idea that it exists. Exercise can put your teeth at greater risk for tooth decay, but there is good news. A few simple tweaks to what you do while you workout, and what you do when you are finished, will help you protect your smile.
You’re Working On More Than Just Your Waistline
Your teeth may be in danger of damage due to several factors during and after your workout. Here is what is happening to your teeth while you are trying to shed those extra pounds.
Dry Mouth – As you exercise, you will begin to sweat. This is because your core body temperature is rising, and sweating is your body’s way of lowering and regulating that temperature. As you sweat, your body is going to slow down processes that take away from the available moisture level in your body. It prioritizes temperature regulation over other things, and one of those things is saliva production. You are probably wondering why saliva matters when we are talking about possible damage to your teeth. Saliva is responsible for “washing” your teeth throughout the day. It keeps your teeth safe from sugars and carbs that feed the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Without saliva, that bacteria just got invited to the dental equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Sports Drinks – So, your body is now more concerned with getting cool than creating saliva, and saliva is what keeps your teeth safe from the decay-causing bacteria in your mouth. That bacteria feeds on sugar and carbs, and without saliva to wash it away, they have free reign to all of the sugars in your mouth. Sports drinks are full of sugars. While they taste good, and seem to give you a little kick, they are very dangerous for your teeth. Without as much saliva to wash these sugars off of your teeth, you are basically loading the gun that the bacteria is going to use to kill your smile.
Protein Bars – Much like sports drinks, these bars are often high in sugar content. The protein they provide is great for muscle recovery, but there are better ways to get it than through these mock candy bars. The bacteria is going to have a field day with the fuel these bars provide, and your teeth are the ones that suffer.
Be Prepared: How To Care For Your Teeth With Your Exercise Regimen
We are not saying that you shouldn’t work out, or even that you can’t drink
sports drinks and eat protein bars. What we are saying is that if you are going
to do all of these things, there are certain things you need to do to keep you
smile safe from these unnoticed dangers.
Drink Water – Water is the most effective form of hydration available. It has been since the beginning and will be till the end of time. Drinking water early and often while you exercise is going to give your teeth the fighting chance they need against the dangers of tooth decay. The water will do two things. It will hydrate your mouth during your workout, and it will make sure that your body has enough water in it to provide for both your sweat and saliva production.
Use a Mint or Chew Gum (specifically of the sugar-free variety) – Popping a mint or a piece of gum post-workout will stimulate your salivary glands. This produces saliva to keep your teeth hydrated, and the dangerous sugars and carbs from sticking around long enough to feed the bacteria.
Brush and Floss Afterward – If you do drink a sports drink or chow down on a protein bar, it is a good idea to brush and floss your teeth following. This will make sure that all of the dangerous sugars and carbs are removed from your teeth to keep them safe from harm.
Taking care of your body is important, but don’t let your smile get hurt in the process. For more information on how to keep your smile safe and to schedule an appointment, call us at our St. John dental office at 219-322-9920 or our Valparaiso office at 219-462-1970.
Creating Smiles, PC, located in St. John and Valparaiso, Indiana, offers everything you need for a healthy smile and a healthier life. Dr. Kapers and his team can take the anxiety and uncertainty out of dental visits with sedation dentistry, and we're the premier provider of dental implants in the region.