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Did You Know Working Out May Hurt Your Smile?

  • September 1, 2016

It happens to everyone. When we hit the age of 30, the clock on our amazing metabolism starts ticking down. For some of us, it takes a few more years. The only constant is that unless we were in a good routine of working out and eating clean before, we are in for a very rude awakening. That awakening comes in the form of not being able to fit those pants that we loved so much, having a bulge in areas that are not supposed to be bulging, and generally not feeling as fit as we did while we were younger. The answer to this problem is pretty simple. We need to start working out and eating better.

The eating better part is the hardest for some of us; we seem to have no problem grabbing a Planet Fitness membership and hitting the treadmill several times a week. What people don’t realize is that their workout routine may be putting their smile at risk for tooth decay. What good is a great figure or build if you can’t smile when you are showing it off?

Your Workout May Be Hurting Your Smile

There are a lot of different things going on while you exercise. Most of those things are good and help accomplish your goal of getting into better shape. But some of them may have unnoticed consequences for your teeth. Here is what you should consider with your smile while you are working out.

Dehydration – Your body will begin producing sweat once your workout starts. This is how your body cools itself, and it slows down other (seemingly unneeded) processes to make sure that it has the necessary amount of water to do it. Saliva production is one of those processes. Saliva is really important to the health of your teeth. Not only does it aid in the pre-digestion of the food you eat, but it also washes your teeth throughout the day to keep sugars and other material from feeding the bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria can cause tooth decay and even gum disease. Without saliva to keep the food supply down for this bacteria, your teeth may be in some very real danger.

Sports Drinks – Sports drinks taste good (sugars and artificial flavors), but they may be doing more harm than good when it comes to your smile. The sugars that these drinks contain feed the problematic bacteria in your mouth and give them the food supply they need to thrive. This coupled with the fact that you are already lower on saliva can be a dangerous combination.

Protein Bars
– This can refer to shakes as well. These protein supplements contain sugar and carbs to help your body refuel following a workout (the good part), but these sugars and carbs also feed the bacteria in your mouth and help them multiply (the bad part). Don’t end up with a cavity because of the protein supplements you have been taking.

So, What Can You Do?

These are dangers to your smile, but only if you allow them to be. You don’t have to give up drinking sports drinks or eating protein bars. You just need to take steps to make sure that you are giving your teeth the best chance you can to remain healthy and cavity-free. Here are some things you can do to help your smile survive your workout.

Drink Plenty of Water – Two things come from drinking plenty of water during your workout. First, the water keeps the inside of your mouth wet and washes the sugars and carbs off of your teeth. The second is that your body will have the water it needs to sweat and produce saliva. This keeps your teeth safe and you feeling ready for another set of your favorite exercise.

Grab a Pack of Gum – You can grab mints after your workout as well, we just recommend that you use sugar-free options. This way you don’t add sugars to the situation. Mints and gum will stimulate your salivary glands and help you produce more saliva when your mouth starts to feel dry. Saliva will wash the sugars away and keep your teeth safer.

Brush Post-Workout – You can eat your protein bars and drink your protein shakes all you want. Just be sure to brush and floss following. This will clear the sugars and carbs from your mouth that they leave behind and keep the dangerous bacteria from feasting at your expense.

Getting in shape is something that everyone should be doing, but don’t let your smile fall prey to your workout. Call our Burke, VA office today at 703-260-1677 for an appointment to keep your teeth clean and healthy.