Exercise might be one of the most overlooked factors in dental health. While most people are at least aware that physical activity is part of being healthy, far fewer know that it helps their teeth and gums, too.
For instance, as we noted before, research shows that those who exercise have a much lower risk of periodontitis (gum disease) than those who don’t, especially former smokers. (For most, smoking pretty much guarantees gum disease and tooth loss.)
Physical activity also helps your body better assimilate nutrients like calcium, a crucial mineral for the remineralization of teeth.
Here are 5 more “hidden” benefits, courtesy of integrative physician Dr. Eudene Harry, author of Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps:
- Younger looking, more blemish-free skin
The increase in circulation and perspiration that occurs with exercise delivers more nutrients to your skin while allowing impurities and waste to be removed. The result? A healthier complexion!
- Natural “feel-good” chemicals
Exercise releases endorphins, the brain chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel happy, as well as relieve stress, and enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence. Exercise has also been shown to increase neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which gives us a natural high and allows us to sleep better.
- Constipation prevention
Exercise increases the contractions of the wall of the intestine, helping to move things along through the intestinal tract more easily, and decreasing the time it takes to pass through the large intestine. But wait an hour or two after eating before exerting yourself: Exercising too soon after a meal can divert blood flow away from the gut and toward the muscles, weakening peristaltic contractions (and slowing down the digestion process).
- Prevents brittle bones
Walking, jogging, dancing, weight training and yoga are all weight-bearing exercises that help strengthen bones. Swimming and bicycling are exercises that are considered non-weight bearing. During weight-bearing exercises, bones adapt to the impact of the weight and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density and decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
- Enhanced immunity
Physical exertion increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, resulting in better immunity against sickness. The increased temperature generated during moderate exercise makes it difficult for certain infectious organisms to survive.
We hope you and yours have a joyful Thanksgiving – a wonderful start to your holiday season ! We’ll be back to our regular posting here on November 30.
Image by bookgrl, via Flickr