Dental health tips

The Relationship Between Exercise and Oral Health

on January 2, 2021

Happy New Year! At Stephens Dentistry, we’ve been hearing about our patients’ New Year’s Resolutions for some time now. As you might expect, many people are including better exercise routines as part of their goals for 2021. While getting in better shape can have a profoundly positive impact on a person’s physical health, there are some details to consider when it comes to the effect on your teeth.

Teeth Clenching and Grinding

Those engaging in intense physical activity may have a tendency to clench or grind their teeth through the exercise. This is especially common in weightlifters, who may be unconsciously clenching as they exert energy. Clenching and grinding can lead to moderate to severe dental damage over time, including chips and fractures. Depending on your sport, you may benefit from a specialized oral appliance which separates the upper and lower teeth.

One of the first signs of damage is dental pain. If you are experiencing dental pain in Evanston, make an appointment with our dentist for a thorough examination.

Accidents on the Field or Court

Mouthguards are especially important for athletes who engage in team sports. Rough play on the field or court can result in teeth being fractured, knocked out, or otherwise damaged. There are many different types of mouthguards, from custom-made mouthguards to ‘boil-and-bite’ mouthguards which can be purchased at a sporting goods store. Make sure that your mouthguard fits comfortably so that it won’t become a distraction during play.

Cavity Formation

Research has shown a correlation between excessive exercise and the development of cavities. One possible reason for this is that your saliva’s chemical composition changes while you exercise. While you can’t control this, drinking water may help rinse your teeth clear of harmful chemicals. Excessive mouth breathing while working out can also lead to dry mouth, which may increase your risk of cavities.

Many athletes turn to sugary sports drinks, protein shakes, and power bars to replenish their energy reserves during or after exercise. Be careful to check the nutrition labels on these items and rinse with water or brush your teeth after enjoying them. Leaving food debris or sugar behind in your mouth can also contribute to tooth decay.

The Bottom Line

While exercising more might have some potential drawbacks when it comes to your oral health, it’s possible to take precautions to protect your smile. Our dental team is here to help make sure your teeth are looking and feeling their best. If you are due for a checkup or are experiencing any kind of dental pain in Evanston, please reach out today to make an appointment.

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Tooth-Friendly Tips for the Holidays

on December 14, 2020

With the holiday season in full swing, most people are looking forward to celebrating with their favorite sweets, traditions, and people—even if things look a little different this year! Our family dentists in Evanston have tips to help keep your teeth in good shape over the holidays.

Tip #1: Don’t use your teeth to open packages

No matter how excited you are about opening presents, it’s never a good idea to use your teeth as a tool. Many people experience chips, fractures, or more significant dental damage as a result of trying to open packages or bottles with their teeth. We recommend grabbing gift-opening supplies before getting started—it could save you a trip to the dentist over the holidays!

Tip #2: Avoid chewy, sticky snacks

As experienced dentists, we know that it’s not realistic to ask our patients to avoid candy altogether, especially around the holidays. Instead, we suggest avoiding snacks with certain textures that are particularly rough on teeth, such as taffy, caramel, hard candy, and peanut brittle. Snacks that are very sticky or tough to chew can loosen or dislodge dental work like fillings and crowns. Sticky candies can also linger on your teeth beyond a thorough brush, encouraging cavities.

Tip #3: Don’t bite your nails

Nail biting is a habit many people indulge in year-round, but for some increases around the holidays with anticipation and anxiety. Cutting back on this habit can help you avoid developing (or worsening) wear-and-tear on your teeth, jaw problems, or facial pain related to tooth grinding. When you feel the urge to chew on your nails, try to distract yourself! Some companies make bitter-tasting nail products to help curb this bad habit.

Tip #4: Keep up with brushing and flossing

Time flies when you’re having a good time. When you’re snuggled up on the couch with friends or family around the holidays, it may be tempting to let yourself drift off without taking care of your teeth. This is never a good idea—even for one night! We recommend taking care of your smile before settling in for a long movie to help avoid this problem.

Tip #5: Choose light-colored beverages

Red wine and pomegranate juice are two drinks that are often seen at holiday celebrations. Tasty as they may be, drinking them can contribute to stains on your teeth. If keeping your smile bright is important to you, opt for white wine, water, or another light-colored or clear beverage instead!

Visit Us for Restorative and Preventive Services

Stephens Dentistry is a family dentistry practice located in Evanston, IL. Our dentists provide a wide range of dental services, including cosmetic, restorative, and preventive services. We want to help you achieve your greatest dental health! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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