Lincoln Square (773) 654-3575 2328 W Foster Ave., Chicago, IL 60625

an appointmentclick here

an appointmentclick here

The Importance of Protecting Your Teeth and Gums During Physical Activities

Most of us, long ago recognized the importance of physical exercise in maintaining our overall health and fitness. At Lincoln Square Dental, we certainly know that working out and exercising regularly are extremely important when it comes to maintaining good overall health.

Protecting Your Teeth and Gums During Physical Activities

Nevertheless, there are times when physical activities present certain risks to our oral health. In this article, we’ll attempt to address some of these concerns.

The Positives

Regarding exercise and dental health, there’s both good news and bad news. On the positive side, recent studies establish that regular exercise lowers the risk of developing gum disease by 54%, and even occasional exercise lowers the risk of developing periodontal disease by 33%.

Beyond these basics, not to be ignored is the link between maintaining an appropriate body mass index (BMI) and oral health. These same studies have shown that people who maintain a healthy weight through exercise, and consume a healthy diet, reduced their risk of developing dental health problems by 40%.

The Negatives

On the other hand, to present a balanced picture, it’s essential to remember that for all its benefits, physical activity also poses some risks to your dental health that shouldn’t be minimized or ignored.

1) Injury

Physical injury is the most obvious risk to oral health associated with exercise. Blunt force trauma from a ball, bat, elbow, or foot, to name a few, can damage teeth and possibly cause soft tissue damage to lips, tongue, gums, and inner cheeks. If left untreated, these injuries can develop into a secondary infection.

Additionally, damage or loss of teeth can cause the remaining teeth to shift, potentially leading to bite problems and even difficulty speaking and eating. There is also the possibility of developing temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) pain and disorder.

2) Sugary Sports Drinks

During physical activity, it’s essential to remain well hydrated, however, sports drinks present an often overlooked risk. Yes, they’re loaded with electrolytes, but they also contain so much sugar and acid that drinking them consistently for as little as five days can damage your teeth. In other words, by sipping sports drinks during your workouts, you’re effectively bathing your teeth in acid, and in no way is that a benefit to your oral health.

3) Saliva Composition

In addition to the studies mentioned earlier, others conducted in Scandinavia have found that people who spent considerable amounts of time exercising had a higher pH or alkaline content in their saliva, while also producing less saliva. This combination – higher alkalinity and less saliva – tended to neutralize the proteins in saliva that help prevent tooth decay, thus increasing the risk of cavities.

4) Mouth Breathing

This risk is associated with the reduced amount of saliva in your mouth. While exercising, we often breathe through our mouth, drying up the saliva flow and giving the bacteria in our mouth a great environment in which to grow, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Protection and Prevention

Fortunately, there are a number of protective steps that can prevent injury to teeth and gums while exercising.

Best Children’s Dentist Lincoln Square

  • To reduce the possibility of sustaining a mouth injury, make sure to wear a mouthguard – especially for contact sports.
  • When it comes to hydration, skip the sugary sports drinks and drink water, including coconut water, instead.
  • To learn more about how you can prevent mouth breathing during exercise, see this Youtube video.

Regular Dental Care at Your Best Children’s Dentist in Lincoln Square

In addition to encouraging your children to engage in regular exercise, we hope you’ll schedule regular dental checkups for them with our dental experts at Lincoln Square Family Dental. Contact us today to schedule a complete and thorough examination of your child’s teeth and gums, and while you’re at it, why not book your checkup as well?

Back to News


Parking Spaces

Convenient Parking

Bus Routes

Bus stops near by


Accessibility parking

Questions? Contact Us Today