We all know that we should exercise regularly to keep our bodies healthy. At our dental office in Sparks, we also know that exercising can be beneficial for our smiles. However, just like too much exercise or improper form can lead to injuries or trouble with overall health, we also know that exercise may actually contribute to some oral health issues.
We don’t want to discourage anyone from exercising or create fear that working out will ultimately lead to dental problems. While there seems to be a correlation between athletes and tooth decay, we can pinpoint two reasons why.
Sports drinks are packed with ingredients that can help the body replenish what’s lost during intense exercise. However, some of those ingredients are known contributors of enamel erosion and tooth decay. For example, the acidity alone can quickly cause damage. In fact, according to an article published by the Academy of General Dentistry, tooth damage can occur after just five days of consuming sports drinks because they’re so acidic.
During any exercise, trainers and coaches alike will encourage you to practice proper breathing techniques to help reduce the risk of cramps and to make your workout as effective as possible. However, the majority of people breathe in and out of their mouths during exercise. Mouth breathing dries the mouth out and makes it an ideal place for damaging bacteria to thrive.
It’s Not All Bad News
Just because high intensity exercise over a prolonged period of time may lead to issues with your oral health, doesn’t mean you should quit your workout routine. According to research collected through the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), individuals who followed the government’s recommendations for physical activity were less likely to have gum disease. And that’s great news for both your mouth and your body. Gum disease can affect overall health and has been linked to serious health issues including increased risk for certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke.
Whether you’re concerned about exercise affecting your oral health or even if you’re just looking for a dentist, we welcome you to call our Sparks dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to see our neighbors and keep them healthy.
At our dental office in Sparks, we’re often asked what certain technical dental terms mean, and we’re always happy to explain them. Which brings us to the topic of the day: Occlusion. What is occlusion? What are we looking at when we talk about it? Why does it matter? We’re glad you asked!
Occlusion is a simply a fancy name to describe the relationship between the way your upper teeth connect with your lower teeth when you chew, bite, or clench down. More commonly, occlusion is explained as your bite.
What Are We Looking At?
When your dentist in Sparks is evaluating your bite, he or she is looking for any areas where the two sets of teeth don’t line up well. A healthy bite is important for proper chewing, and if a bite is “bad,” the force placed on teeth isn’t distributed evenly. This can lead to several problems and the need for restorations or long-term treatment.
How Does a Bite Become “Bad?”
There are times when people develop a bad bite as they lose their baby teeth and their permanent ones erupt. Most commonly, these are classified as overbites, underbites, or crossbites (more on these in a minute). Other individuals see a shift in their once good bite as they get older thanks to accidents, clenching or grinding, or as a result of teeth shifting when a permanent tooth is lost and not replaced.
Signs of a Bad Bite
There aren’t one or two concrete signs of malocclusion (another fancy dental term used to say bad bite). In fact, there are several symptoms that may indicate an issue including:
- Excessive wear on tooth enamel
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Tooth loss
- Head or neck pain
- Pain in the jaw joint
- Upper teeth that fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed (underbite)
- Top teeth that cover most or all of the bottom front teeth while biting (overbite)
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, we encourage you to call our dental office in Sparks. Treatment to correct a bite varies from person to person, so it’s best to evaluate your individual situation and recommend a personalized plan.