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Best Exercises for Dental Health

Regular physical exercise is important to lower the chances of developing heart disease, colon cancer, osteoporosis, hypertension, high cholesterol and other health issues. Science has also proven the process of moving ones’ body is essential to dental health. The findings have come courtesy of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. Their research found that individuals who have a healthy body mass index (BMI), who exercise regularly and have a healthy diet have lower chances of developing gum disease.

The results were generated from an analysis of 12,110 study participants and regular exercisers who ate a nutritious diet and kept a steady weight “…were 40 percent less likely to develop periodontal disease than their counterparts,” (0900Dentist.com). Individuals who only hit two of the goals, experienced a risk decline of 29 percent. Study participants that only had one healthy attribute as assigned by the study, reduced their odds of developing gum disease by 16 percent. The research also suggested that those who were categorized as obese had more than double the odds of developing gum disease.

Those unfamiliar with exercise should know that activity represents a “bodily or mental exertion, especially for the sake of training or improvement of health,” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/exercise). The Case Western Reserve University study focused in on nine common types of exercise including walking a continuous mile or more, jogging or running, bike riding, aerobic dancing, swimming, calisthenics, garden/yard work and weight training. When done correctly all of them can help individuals shed pounds and improve dental health. However some exercises are better for teeth than others.

Weight Training

Pumping iron can be traced back to the earliest stages of man’s (and woman’s) evolution. The basic concept involves defying gravity by engaging muscles in movement using a variety of devices including dumbbells, kettlebells and resistance exercises such as squats, push-ups and climbing.

Weight training exercises focus in on the skeletal muscles that are directly linked to improving bone strength. In turn that can help lower the odds of dental problems such as tooth loss. Ultimately, weight training is considered to be the best bone building exercise as it will move muscles and will cause “… bones to lay down more minerals and get stronger and more dense,” (Health.com). Individuals are advised to conduct strength-training exercises two to three times a week at 30-minute sessions in order to get the best bone building benefits of the act.

Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates

According to statistics from the National Health Interview Survey, the 75 percent of the population experience “some stress” every fourteen days. Stress is a common contributor to teeth grinding AKA bruxism. Physical activity has long been promoted as a way to lower the aggravation levels and exercises that require focus and deep concentration such as Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates are excellent ways to keep healthy and reduce the risk of dental problems.

Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates are all very different exercises with one very important link in common, concentration. All or these types of physical activity require deep focus and precise movements and that process can help change one’s thinking and can distract an individual from any tension that may building. Plus, the activities can help release endorphins that can lower stress and naturally increase happiness levels. Combined, those techniques can help an individual feel more relaxed and naturally release the pressure building in the jaw muscles and can prevent tooth grinding from occurring in the first place.


Swimming is a non-weight-bearing exercise that will burn calories, support weight, build muscles, endurance and can be conducted well into old age. Once immersed in the water, individuals can feel the stress melt away (especially helping those suffering from bruxism) and can aid in muscle toning, weight loss and lowering the risk of gum disease.

However, unlike other exercises swimming can cause a risk to dental health for those who are not careful. Individuals who spend hours in a chlorinated pool can end up with a myriad of dental problems including tooth enamel erosion, tooth discoloration (where tartar build up turns brown and is called “swimmers calculus” and tooth sensitivity (Dentistry.co.uk). The improper pH balance of pool chemicals is the culprit and professional pool maintenance can help lower the odds of dental health issues.

Individuals looking to improve their dental health through exercise should first get a complete physical from a doctor to discuss what exercises would be best and to minimize the risk of injury associated with beginning a physical fitness regime. Once that discussion takes place, it is important to note that exercise cannot replace oral hygiene behaviors such as brushing, flossing and regular dentist visits. Individuals in need of a dentist can call 0900-DENTIST.

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