Exercise and Oral Health

News Flash: Physical exercise is important for your health.
Just kidding. Pretty much everyone knows now that even a little bit of regular exercise—two to three times per week—can make a big difference in the way we look and feel. Exercise is related to our cardiovascular system, our emotions, our skin, bones and brains: you name it; it’s probably improved with regular exercise. Research is also showing that exercise contributes to good oral health.

A few years ago, scientists at Case Western Reserve University examined data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). More than 12,000 people participated in the survey that looked at “health-enhancing behaviors” and the prevalence of periodontitis, or severe gum disease. The health-enhancing behaviors included maintaining normal weight, high-quality diet, and regular exercise. The people who engaged in just one of the health-enhancing behaviors were 16 percent less likely to develop periodontitis than those who did not. Those who engaged in two of them reduced their risk by 29 percent. And the ones who maintained a normal weight, ate a good diet and engaged in regular exercise were 40 percent less likely to have the serious gum disease.

Another study, looking at the data from the same NHANES III survey, narrowed in on 2,500 people who reported that their level of physical activity and exercise had remained about the same over a ten-year period. This study found that subjects who engaged in moderate exercise less than three times per week had a 33 percent reduced risk of periodontitis, compared with subjects who didn’t exercise at all. Further, those who vigorously exercised three times per week or more reduced their risk by more than 50 percent, compared to non-exercising subjects. (These results were found only among subjects who were non-smokers or former smokers.)

It is fascinating that oral health is closely integrated with other aspects of our systemic, or overall health. These studies focus on how a healthy lifestyle contributes to oral health; a mounting body of scientific research shows poor oral health, in particular, periodontal disease, is related to other chronic illnesses. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, problems with fertility and pregnancy, and many more systemic diseases have been tied to periodontitis.

And it appears that the “bad actor” that links oral disease and systemic disease is inflammation associated with free radicals. That’s why PerioSciences has developed the AO ProVantage products, which put antioxidants to work on oral tissues to combat free radicals and their damaging effects. Phloretin and ferulic acid, two of the active ingredients in AO ProVantage, can help improve the antioxidant balance in the mouth. AO ProVantage dental gel and AO ProRinse help soothe dental tissues, while AO ProVantage BLAST is formulated specifically for smokers. To learn more about antioxidants in dental care, fill out the form on our blog. To connect with PerioSciences, visit us out on Facebook or Twitter.

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