The holidays are a time for indulgence, so it stands to reason that once people have ushered in the New Year, their focus turns to eating healthier and exercising more. Shedding a few pounds and getting in better shape are two of the world’s most common New Year’s resolutions.
As you commit to becoming healthier and happier in 2018, don’t forget about your oral health! At Beaumont Family Dentistry, we want to cheer you on toward better overall wellness.
Read on for some do’s and don’ts when you’re exercising more and watching what you eat this year. Then, remember that one of the best things you can do for your dental health is partner with a team of compassionate professionals who can help you prevent and fight tooth decay and gum disease.
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One of the most common pieces of advice given to people trying to lose weight? Increase your water intake. It makes you feel full, which promotes mindful eating. But drinking more water also benefits your dental health, particularly if you’re increasing your level of activity.
A small study of endurance athletes revealed that their saliva production decreased during strenuous workouts. While the study’s authors couldn’t say definitively whether this kind of training was bad for the athletes’ dental health, we do know that saliva is a natural defense against tooth decay. It discourages food debris from sticking to your teeth, where it would otherwise attract harmful bacteria.
Increasing your water intake or even simply rinsing your mouth out with water can have a similar effect.
After a tough workout, it’s tempting to grab a sugary sports drink, an energy chew, or a protein bar to help you refuel. But these foods and drinks can be problematic for teeth if they’re not consumed with care.
For one, many of these treats are loaded with sugar for a quick boost of energy. Sugars not adequately removed from teeth are a smorgasbord for plaque-causing bacteria, which can lead to cavities.
Protein bars should also be eaten with caution, particularly if you’ve had a lot of dental work done. Many protein bars are chewy and dense, which can damage dental crowns and bridges if you’re not careful. If possible, look for alternatives to these protein bars. For example, a banana and peanut butter, which provides just the right amount of sugar and protein, makes a great post-workout snack.
When you’re craving a snack, nothing satisfies like a potato chip … except for maybe crunchy fruits and vegetables. As it turns out, humans are sort of hardwired to be satisfied by crisp and crunchy foods. So next time you’re rummaging through the refrigerator for a quick bite to eat, reach for fiber-rich foods, such as baby carrots, apple slices, and celery sticks.
And, you guessed it: These foods are as good for your teeth as they are for your waistline. They have a high water content, which can help remove the sugars from your teeth that might otherwise contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
If your exercise comes in the form of a contact sport, such as hockey or martial arts, consider a custom-made athletic mouthguard to prevent dental injuries and emergencies. At Beaumont Family Dentistry, we can provide a protective device that fits better than any mouthguard you’ll find at the store.
Think of your mouthguard as a small insurance policy on your smile. Investing in one now can prevent expensive dental treatments tomorrow.
If midnight snacking is your kryptonite, here’s an easy way to keep it from undoing your hard work: Adjust the time at which you brush your teeth.
It might seem silly, but for some people, brushing earlier in the evening helps prevent mindless snacking.
You should be proud of your commitment to improving your health in the coming year. Don’t forget that your oral health both reflects and affects your overall wellbeing.
One of the easiest ways to make sure your teeth and gums are in as great of shape as you are is to partner with the team at Beaumont Family Dentistry!
Call us at any of our locations to schedule a routine checkup, or fill out our convenient online form. We’ll help you keep your smile healthy for years to come.
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