Gum disease is a widespread condition that affects nearly half of U.S. adults over 30.1 Despite its prevalence, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing this condition. The connection between exercise and gum disease prevention is one area of oral health many people overlook.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums by bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria infiltrate below the gums as plaque deposits develop on your teeth around the gum line.
The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis, and you might not notice any symptoms worse than bad breath or swollen gums. However, as gum disease progresses, its effects become more severe. You can experience pain, swelling, gum recession, and even tooth loss.
While gum disease is a severe condition, it is also highly preventable. Routine periodontal teeth cleaning and exams, good oral hygiene, and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your risk of gum disease.
How Are Exercise and Gum Disease Prevention Related?
While most people first think of oral hygiene or keeping up with routine appointments, that’s not all there is to preventing gum disease. Exercise and gum disease go hand in hand, with the overall health benefits of regular exercise also improving oral health.
One of the critical factors here is that regular exercise helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. Short-term inflammation is a part of your body’s natural immune response. However, individuals in poor health can suffer from chronic inflammation responses that weaken their immune systems and increase the risk of infection.
Regular exercise also helps prevent various conditions and risk factors for gum disease. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, but leading an active lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing it. Obesity is a risk factor for gum disease, and a combination of healthy exercise and diet can help manage weight.
While not directly connected to exercise, there are other elements of a healthy lifestyle that can prevent gum disease. Avoiding smoking or chewing tobacco is likely the best step to reduce gum disease risk. Eating a healthy diet low in excessively sugary or acidic foods can also make a significant difference.
How Can I Take Steps to Prevent Gum Disease?
With the knowledge of exercise and gum disease prevention in mind, you can take concrete steps to reduce your risk. Most people can implement an effective exercise routine on their own. Regularly jogging, cycling, or engaging in other physical activities can be all it takes to make a difference in your overall health and oral health. Speak with your doctor before you begin a strenuous exercise program.
Gum disease risk increases with age and the various medical conditions associated with aging. This means that some people who should be most concerned about their risk of gum disease may not be able to implement regular exercise so quickly. However, you can always contact your doctor to discuss low-impact exercise options.
Alongside leading a healthier lifestyle, anyone at a higher risk of gum disease due to age, medical history, or underlying conditions should consider seeing a periodontist. Periodontal cleaning and examination can improve prevention and determine whether you need gum disease treatment or other interventions.
Take a Proactive Approach to Gum Disease
Changing your lifestyle, such as eating healthier and exercising regularly, can help prevent gum disease. However, these changes don’t replace regular periodontal cleaning for your gums and teeth. You can find gum disease prevention and treatment options by contacting Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester. Give us a call at 585-685-2005.