Does Exercise Affect Gum Health?

exercise and gum health

exercise and gum healthApex, Raleigh, NC

We all know the benefits of regular exercise on physical health. It helps, for instance, lower the risks of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

But researchers have also found that regular physical activity helps lower the risk of gum disease and the inflammation and infection that lead to it. Read on to discover how living an active, healthy lifestyle can save your health — and your life — in a number of ways …

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a common, but preventable, issue that most American adults, at some point in their lives, will face. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in the gums. It begins simply enough: when bacteria in the mouth multiply and begin attacking the gums.

Gingivitis — The beginning stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. In this stage of gum disease, damage to the gums often presents itself as red, swollen, gums that bleed when brushing or flossing. Gingivitis can sometimes be reversed by simply strengthening oral hygiene practices at home: brushing for two minutes, two times a day — after breakfast and before bed — and thoroughly flossing at least once a day. To boost your oral care regime, our Cary periodontists encourage adding mouthwash after brushing and flossing.

Periodontitis — If gingivitis is left untreated, the bacteria continue feeding and growing, creating pockets and channels that allow the bacteria to travel further down the tooth’s surface. This eventually causes the gums to start receding. This paves the way for the bacteria to cover the entire surface of the tooth and reach its root pocket. This is called periodontitis and, if left untreated long enough, advanced periodontitis. This advanced form of gum disease leads to tooth loss when the mouth bacteria cause an infection that weakens the tissue holding the teeth in the gums. Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in American adults (besides wisdom teeth that are pulled preventatively).

At its worst, the infection that causes gum disease can enter a person’s bloodstream and reach vital organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and liver, causing serious health risks like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and pregnancy complications.

How can exercise help?

While regular physical activity helps the body fight against cardiovascular and other diseases, researchers have found that it also helps keep gums and teeth healthy and strong. A study by Colgate recently revealed that non-smokers who exercised regularly are more than 50 percent less likely to develop gum disease than their non-smoking, sedentary counterparts. While studies have long shown that exercise helps fight inflammation and encourages gut health in the body, it turns out that living an active lifestyle also helps with gum inflammation! This helps reduce the risk of gum infection and disease.

Gum Disease Treatment in Cary, Apex, and Raleigh, North Carolina

Gum disease can be prevented by living an active lifestyle while maintaining strong oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist twice a year for professional cleanings. The negative effects of gum disease, in its earliest stages, can often be reversed by employing those same practices. But even if you suffer from advanced gum disease, our periodontists at Triangle Periodontics in Raleigh can help you get your oral health back on track. If you notice bleeding or inflamed gums or loose permanent teeth, we would love to talk with you about a deep cleaning of your teeth and options to restore your gum health. Call us at Triangle Periodontics, (919) 782-9536, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.