Welcome to the new year. Hopefully by now you’ve stopped writing 2015 on everything and you’re still keeping up with your resolutions.
One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to start and keep to an exercise routine (which is why the radio and TV are just dripping with gym ads these days). But while your exercise routine is great for your health, fitness, and weight, it may not be so good for your teeth. Here’s how you can avoid damage to your teeth while keeping to your resolution.
Keeping hydrated is one of the most important ways to protect your teeth as you’re exercising. Your saliva is the first line of defense for your teeth, but when you get dehydrated, you not only have less of it, which allows bacteria to grow more easily in your mouth, but also your saliva can become acidic, damaging your teeth.
So it’s important to keep hydrated while you’re working out.
Don’t Overdo Sports Drinks
And most of the time you’re hydrating, try to stick to plain water. Water is neutral, so it won’t damage your teeth, unlike sports drinks, which can be even more acidic than diet sodas. And they contain sugars which can feed bacteria populations, leading to serious damage to your teeth.
It’s not unusual for people to change their eating habits after they start an exercise routine. This “compensatory eating” can sabotage your weight loss efforts, and it’s bad for your teeth. The more small snacks you eat over the course of the day, the more time bacteria are actively damaging your teeth.
Among the worst snacks to avoid are energy bars and gels that are designed to be consumed during your workout.
Know Your Limits
Trying to exercise too hard too fast can lead to injuries. That includes injuries to your teeth that are caused by trips and falls.
But you might also experience tooth damage if you’re clenching your teeth to exert yourself too hard. This can lead to more wear and even cause chips, cracks, or broken teeth and restorations. If you find yourself clenching your teeth all the time, try to find a healthier form. If necessary, a dentist can fit you with an anti-clenching mouthguard.
Talk to a Dentist about TMJ
But it might not just be your form that’s causing tooth clenching and grinding. If you are experiencing jaw pain as well as tooth wear while running, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
Getting TMJ treated will protect your teeth, but it will also give your workout a boost, too, as it can help align your spine and allow for better balance and more efficient muscle function.