- Overweight and obesity rates among American men indicate a dire need for better physical health practices.
- Poor oral health can directly hinder fitness goals through nutritional intake, systemic inflammation, and jaw functionality.
- Mouth breathing during exercise could result in oral dehydration and reduced lung capacity, negatively affecting workout performance.
- Poor dental health may impact self-confidence, possibly leading to decreased participation in fitness activities.
- Regular dental visits, twice-daily brushing, and a nutritious diet are key to maintaining oral health and achieving fitness goals.
Fitness is a journey that involves getting fit in different aspects of your life, including physically, mentally, and emotionally. Eating right, consistently exercising, and getting enough sleep to aid muscle recovery and growth is crucial to achieving your fitness goals. One aspect that often goes overlooked, however, is dental health. Oral health and physical fitness go hand in hand. Here’s what you need to know about physical health among men in the U.S., how their oral health can affect their fitness, and ways you can improve your oral health to attain your fitness goals.
Physical Health of Americans
It’s estimated that about 1 in 3 men in the U.S. are considered medically obese. Moreover, approximately 40% of men over 20 are overweight or obese. With these statistics in mind, it’s clear that the physical health of men in the U.S. is not at its best.
Oral Health and Fitness
You must have good oral health to process and absorb all the nutrients from your diet properly and more. Here are some ways your oral health can affect your overall fitness.
1. Oral Health and Nutritional Intake
Oral health plays a significant role in your nutritional intake. The health of your teeth and gums affects the range of foods you can consume. If you have missing, decayed, or damaged teeth, it could make it difficult or painful to chew certain foods, leading to a less diverse and less healthy diet. Additionally, food particles trapped in the teeth may lead to bacterial growth, which results in gum disease, cavities, and other dental ailments that can impact your physical fitness goals.
2. Gum Disease and Systemic Inflammation
Gum disease is an oral health condition that can affect anyone. However, the severity of the condition can vary depending on the individual’s oral health care. Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup on teeth, leading to an infection that causes chronic inflammation. The inflammation can spread to other parts of the body, leading to swelling, joint pain, and even heart issues. The inflammation caused by gum disease could adversely affect your fitness journey by lowering your energy levels and sapping your motivation to continue workouts.
3. Tooth Loss and Jaw Health
Tooth loss is detrimental to oral health and can impede your fitness journey. It can cause difficulty in chewing and affect the alignment of the teeth. Misaligned teeth can lead to jaw issues, resulting in chronic pain, disturbed sleep, and a lack of motivation to exercise. As you lose the support of your bite due to tooth loss, you’ll start grinding your teeth more, resulting in sore jaws and lack of sleep due to soreness.
4. Mouth Breathing and Exercise
Most people breathe through their noses; however, those with allergies or sinus blockages usually breathe through their mouths. Breathing through your mouth during exercise could lead to mouth dehydration, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. The lack of saliva washes away the oral bacteria, which could cause infections in the mouth. It also affects your lung capacity, impacting your performance and motivation to continue with your workouts.
5. Oral Health and Overall Confidence
To achieve your fitness goals, you need more than strength and endurance. Self-confidence is key. If you have poor dental health, you might become self-conscious when smiling or laughing in public. The notion could lead to a lack of confidence and reluctance to partake in fitness activities that require you to be around people. Therefore, investing in oral health could positively impact your confidence as you feel more comfortable in your skin.
Ways to Improve Your Oral Health
There are various ways you can improve your oral health. Here are three ways:
You must increase your dental visits to ensure your oral health is top-notch. Yearly visits to your local dentist’s office can help protect your teeth and gums from any health issues that could arise. During the visits, your dentist can advise you on proper brushing techniques and other oral care methods to ensure your mouth is healthy and in excellent condition.
Brush Twice a Day
Make a habit of brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. You should brush for two minutes and ensure you reach all areas of your mouth. Daily flossing is recommended to remove any food particles lodged between the teeth.
Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy eating habits are essential for optimal oral health. Consuming foods high in calcium, such as milk, cheese, and fortified cereals, helps strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots also stimulates saliva production to keep the mouth hydrated.
Overall, oral health is essential for your overall well-being and fitness journey. Improving your oral hygiene habits with regular dental visits, brushing twice daily, and healthy eating can help you achieve better physical health. Taking care of your body, inside and out, can help you reach your fitness goals.