When we think about getting our bodies in shape, we think about consistent exercise and a clean diet. We all understand eating healthy is a good way to supercharge our body for a sports victory, but we don’t often emphasize the importance of brushing afterward. Because the mouth and body work together and influence each other, it’s crucial to care for our mouths alongside our bodies.
Oral and overall health are closely linked and impact one another. For a high score in health, increase your physical activity AND establish habits to improve your smile.
Our mouth and body work as a team
Did you know that many elite athletes suffer from oral health problems?
Many endurance athletes rely on high-sugar snacks such as gels, granola bars and energy bars during their training. The sugars in these foods may stick to teeth and create cavity-causing bacteria that lead to tooth decay. When we add in the acidic nature of sports drinks, it’s easy see why endurance athletes may struggle with tooth decay and cavities.
Because of intense training sessions, busy schedules and greater chances of dental trauma athletes are more likely to neglect their oral health.
Tips to improve oral health as an athlete
Taking care of both your physical and oral health is an important part of maintaining your mouth and body powerhouse. Don’t let dental problems stop you from achieving your athletic dreams by following these tips:
Set realistic weekly workout goals that include oral health
Keep a chart to track your progress and reward yourself for reaching your fitness goals. Add brushing and flossing to your cool-down regimen and don’t forget to schedule your preventive care appointments with your dentist.
Control the carbs
If unhealthy foods aren’t available, you’re less likely to indulge in sweets. Replace junk food, high-sugar energy-boosting snacks, sports drinks and carbohydrates with healthier options. Reach for fruits and veggies instead that are healthy, tooth-friendly and delicious.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Water is your friend. Consistently drinking water throughout the day will ensure you’re optimally hydrated. It also helps your mouth salivate, which washes away cavity-causing bacteria. If you’re not able to brush and floss after a workout, rinse with water to help prevent tooth decay!
Wear a mouthguard
If you are not already wearing a mouthguard for high-impact sports, it’s time to start. For sports such as soccer, basketball, skiing, football and others, a mouthguard is essential to protect your teeth.
Remember, a healthy body includes a healthy mouth. Want to learn more about the mouth and body connection? Check out The Love Connection Between Heart and Oral Health.