This guest post was written by Dr Steve Lin – a board-registered dentist, writer, and speaker with work published in The Sydney Morning Herald and The British Dental Journal. He has also written for MindBodyGreen and About.com and given talks as part of the TEDx program. He’s talking to us about your oral health can have an impact on your overall health.
THE SURPRISING LINK BETWEEN YOUR ORAL HEALTH, YOUR WORKOUT AND YOUR WHOLE BODY
When you’re rushing for a dental check-up, there are probably a few common things running through your mind.
Sure, we know that overeating sugar can put us at risk of tooth decay. But there’s far more to food and mouth story than we previously thought.
Most of us don’t stop to think how our dental health is a sign that our diet might not be quite where it needs to be.
As a dentist that focusses on nutrition and the oral-systemic link, I’m going to share a few lesser known secrets you can find hidden in your teeth.
What more, your smile is far more important to your overall health, including your physical health than you ever thought!
Let’s look at how our teeth, diet and your work out are all closely connected.
TEETH GRINDING AND YOUR BODY’S NUMBER ONE NUTRIENT
Your teeth reveal the amount of the number one nutrient your body needs. Can you think of what that might be?
Yep, you can’t last more than a few minutes without oxygen, and breathing plays a significant role in improving your fitness.
A dental exam can reveal that you’re potentially starving of oxygen. Teeth grinding or clenching is commonly seen in the dental chair. Often seen as night bruxism, it’s a sign your body is trying to open your airway during sleep. It’s a concern because it stops you from getting deep rest (needed for a recovery from the gym).
Teeth grinding may be a sign of mouth breathing during sleep. It’s not ideal because the nasal passage is designed to deliver oxygen to the lungs. That’s because nitric oxide (produced in the nasal sinuses) mixes with air and increases blood flow to maximize the transfer of oxygen.
During sleep, teeth grinding can lead to a lack of restful, regenerative sleep.
If you grind your teeth and find yourself always tired, have digestive disorders, anxiety or have cold hands and feet, your breathing likely needs to be addressed.
Tip: Re-training yourself for slow, diaphragmatic, nasal breathing can have fantastic effects on your dental and overall health.
Here’s a quick exercise to try before or during your work out.
1) Focus on closed lip posture.
2) Start with a three-second inhalation through your nose
3) Breath out for a four-second exhalation out through your nose
4) Start off with a two-minute exercise, then increase to a walk and then a jog, where you only breath through your nose. It will train your upper airway muscles to stay open during sleep.
INFLAMMATION, WEIGHT GAIN, AND YOUR GUMS
Have you noticed bleeding gums recently? They tell an interesting story about your gut and your diet.
Unwanted weight gain may be due to some degree of inflammation present in your body. Gingivitis is one of the first signs that your gut bacteria and immune system aren’t in the best shape.
If you notice bleeding gums, take it as a sign that you need to get your gut health back on track.
There are many dietary strategies you can adopt to reclaim your oral health and reduce inflammation all over the body.
Tip: Get control of your bleeding gums by:
1) Eat plenty of gut and mouth health promoting vegetables.
2) Include prebiotic fibres such as those from asparagus, avocados and leeks.
3) Get your vitamin D checked and eat foods rich in vitamin D such as eggs, salmon, and butter from grass raised cows.
4) Floss daily
5) Add fresh herbs and spices to your meals. They’re full of microbial balancing phytonutrients for healthy gums and guts!
HEALTHY BODIES BEGIN IN THE MOUTH
We all love a great smile, but your teeth hold some of the biggest secrets to better physical performance.
If you’re a bit down with your fitness goals, it might be time to look at your dental health.