There are several things you can do to protect your smile from gum disease. But there’s one other strategy for maintaining healthy gums that you may not be aware of: getting plenty of exercise. Physical activity can have more of an impact than you might think on your oral health. Here’s why exercise can go a long way toward helping you keep gum disease at bay.
What Exactly is Gum Disease?
Your gums play an important role in supporting your teeth. If these soft tissues become infected (which is often a consequence of letting harmful oral bacteria accumulate), the result is gum disease. There are several warning signs that can indicate that you’re currently suffering from gum disease, such as swollen gum tissue, bleeding that occurs when you brush your teeth, or bad breath that won’t go away.
How Can Exercise Help Prevent Gum Disease?
Research has found that regular exercise can reduce the chances of developing gum disease by as much as 54%. Why is this the case? A major reason is the fact that exercise can strengthen your digestive system. One of the benefits of an improved digestive system is that it can enhance the body’s ability to fight off infections – and naturally, this includes infections of the gums.
What Else Can You Do to Avoid Gum Disease?
Of course, while exercise can go a long way toward helping you maintain healthy gums, there are plenty of other steps that you will need to take if you want to ensure that your smile is as safe as possible. Below are some recommendations that a periodontist might make for preventing gum disease:
- Make oral hygiene a priority. Brush at least two times every day; each brushing session should take no less than two minutes. And of course, you need to floss in order to get rid of the plaque that has built up in areas that a toothbrush can’t easily reach.
- Be mindful of your diet. Sugary foods and beverages can significantly increase your risk for gum disease and other oral health issues. Try to cut down the amount of sugar you consume and focus on eating foods that are good for your smile, such as leafy greens.
- Get in the habit of drinking a lot of water. This will help rinse away the bacteria and food debris that can contribute to gum disease (and also help ensure that you stay hydrated during your exercise routine).
The more proactive you are about taking steps to avoid gum disease, the easier it will be to maintain excellent oral health. Of course, sometimes you may notice signs of gum disease in spite of your best efforts; if that happens, get in touch with your periodontist right away.
About the Author
Dr. David Handsman went to the University of Tennessee, where he eventually earned his Masters of Dental Surgery in periodontology. He is a sought-after lecturer who often speaks about periodontology in front of his peers. He offers scaling and root planing as a solution for gum disease. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Handsman at Handsman & Haddad Periodontics in Worcester, visit his website or call (508) 753-5444.