While your feet are pounding the pavement, or your muscles are stretching and clenching in the gym, you could be forgiven for not paying a great deal of attention to your teeth. That’s why you have to protect your teeth. After all, you’re getting fitter, and therefore healthier – what could go wrong? It might shock you then to find that regular exercise can actually be bad for your teeth – according to a study in Germany that found a link between regular exercise – and enamel erosion.
It won’t surprise you to know that energy drinks, and even many protein bars, contain obscene amounts of sugar, but what else could you be doing to protect your teeth, when working out?
Control your breathing
Great – something you’re used to hearing, right? Imagine you’re deep into a long run (unless you are already right now… which would be weird). Your heart is pounding, sweat is pouring from you, and your muscles are screaming. What are you doing with your mouth?
When exercising, most of us have a tendency to breathe heavily, with an open mouth – but this actually reduces the flow of saliva. Unfortunately, this is a tough one to avoid – but being mindful of an open mouth, more often, could help.
Not grinding your teeth
In the sporting world, those who play golf are also professional jaw clenchers. Again, it’s almost unavoidable. They clench their jaw, while standing over the ball, then unclench, relax – and swing. But have you ever seen a golfer wearing a mouthguard?
Clenching the jaw, and subsequently, the teeth, can wear down tooth enamel, and lead to jaw pain, including temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) further down the line. Again, it’s hard to avoid doing this, in many sports, so mindfulness, mouthguards, and even chewing sugar-free gum could be a solution.
Knowing your limits
Admittedly, you might be one of those people who “have no limits”, when it comes to sport. However, this probably makes you even more likely to push yourself, continuously, beyond the pain barrier. And once you’re beyond, you’re not really going to pay too much attention to what you’re doing with your mouth, are you?
Clenching teeth, mouth wide, open and gasping – your teeth won’t thank you for it over time. Unless your workout is also your livelihood, do your older self a favour and slow it down a bit, and avoid reaching for the dentures when you’re older.
Going back to basics
If you ever played hockey, cricket, or rugby at school, you should’ve been wearing a mouthguard. And while you may never choose to take one out with you as you run, or head to the gym. It remains an option. Then come the basic elements of good dental hygiene. If you concentrate on the form of your tooth-brushing. As closely as you do that of your running or weight lifting. You’ll be on your way to good oral hygiene.
Think of this as a personal best you match every single day, in order to protect your teeth. There do exist many ways to repair your teeth, should the worst happen. And composite bonding from Ten Dental is certainly one of them. And finally, one you’ll be well aware of – stay hydrated. The first line of defence against tooth decay is saliva, so drink plenty, don’t let your mouth dry out. And keep protecting your teeth as you push yourself, over and over again.