Is Exercise Good for Teeth?

woman smiling taking a break from running

Exercise is integral to maintaining your physical health and ensuring you have healthy teeth and gums. Your mouth is both a doorway and a mirror to the overall health of your body. So, if you want to improve your oral health, start by adopting a fitness routine into your lifestyle.

Learn everything you need to know about how exercise affects your oral health and why physical fitness is good for your teeth. Discover the connections between your physical health and gum disease, periodontitis, and other dental issues. And find out how to create a personalized exercise plan that will help keep your brain, body, and mouth healthy for years to come.  

How Exercise Helps Healthy Teeth and Gums: Your Total Guide – 2022

To maintain healthy teeth and gums, it all comes down to the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria teaming in your mouth tells a story about your overall health. Good physical health encourages good bacteria to thrive, whereas the opposite is true if you neglect the health and fitness of your body.

Your oral health is directly and indirectly affected by your bodily health and vice-versa. When you neglect your body’s fitness, your mouth becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can cause oral infection, gum disease, and tooth decay. Furthermore, exercise decreases your likelihood of developing diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, and many other conditions that indirectly affect your oral health.

How Exercise Helps to Prevent Gum Disease

Studies and surveys conducted by and published in the Journal of Dentistry, Journal of Periodontology, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), show a direct connection between exercise and decreased risk of developing gum disease. Periodontitis or gum disease is severe inflammation in the gums caused by harmful oral bacteria.

The results show that non-smokers who exercise regularly are 54% less likely to develop gum disease than those who do not exercise with any regularity. Survey participants who reported exercising less than three times a week had a 33% decreased likelihood of developing gum disease. Those who reported exercising three to five times a week were 52% less likely to develop periodontitis.

How Smoking Affects Exercise

A smoker’s body has a more difficult time reaching peak efficiency when exercising. Smoking constricts and binds to red blood cells, displacing oxygen and causing an increase in lactic acid. Since the blood can’t deliver oxygen as efficiently, you may experience low endurance, making it tough to maintain your physical health and fitness.

But that doesn’t mean that you are a lost cause if you currently smoke. A 2005 study in the Journal of Dentistry found a drastic 74% decrease in the chance of developing gum disease amongst former smokers who increased their physical activity. So, there is no better time than the present to quit smoking and take on a healthier lifestyle to support your healthy teeth and gums.

How Body Mass Index Relates to Gum Disease

The Journal of Periodontology published a study on the relationship between a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and their risk of developing periodontitis. According to the study’s findings, participants who exercised and upheld a healthy weight were 40% less likely to develop gum disease. And in 2013, another study at the University of Florida published findings indicating a possible connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Improving Your Physical Fitness Supports Your Oral Health

When you take care of your body, you also take care of your teeth, gums, and oral cavity. If you want to improve your oral health, increase the regularity of your fitness routine. And if you don’t currently incorporate exercise into your daily life, nothing but benefits await.

Talk to your dentist about your physical and oral health goals so that your dental team can create an effective treatment plan. You can get ahead of any possible oral health problems by regularly attending your 6-month dental checkup and cleaning, as well as continuing to brush twice and floss once a day. Schedule a free dental consultation to learn how your lifestyle and exercise routine can support healthy teeth and gums.