Who knew that something as simple as exercise and a little sunshine could stave off the second most common infectious disease in America?
Oral Health America says that periodontal diseases like gingivitis, periodontitis and other bacterial infections of the gums and teeth are the second most common infectious disease in America, but it’s also easily preventable.
The Bastyr Center for Natural Health cites a study with information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey based on exercise.
The first study focuses on the effect of regular physical exercise on oral hygiene. This study found that those who regularly participate in some sort of physical activity from one to three times a week are one-third less likely to develop gum disease than those who do not exercise. Rigorous exercise at least 3 times a week, or moderate activity at least 5 times a week, decrease the likelihood of gum disease by half as opposed to those who do not participate in regular physical activity. This is thought to be because exercise regulates the blood sugar, including sugars that feed bacteria found in the gums.
The second study evaluates adults who took tests to determine vitamin D levels and then had dental exams. Those with the highest vitamin D levels were one-fifth less likely to have gum disease than those with the lowest vitamin D levels, the study shows. Scientists speculate that this is because vitamin D has some anti-inflammatory properties, which can improve dental health.
Both of these studies show that some simple, free activities involving exercise and/or sunshine can actually help reduce oral health problems. According to sunshinevitamin.org, the sun is the only natural source of vitamin D. It is also the best, because unlike vitamin D that you consume in a pill or elsewhere, the body takes what it needs from the vitamin D from the sunlight and gets rid of the extra, causing no harm to the body if it takes in too much vitamin D from the sun. Therefore combining sunshine and exercise can be of tremendous benefit to your teeth.
Getting outside to exercise is essential! Walking, running, playing with the kids or just enjoying the sunlight can naturally help prevent gum disease. So get outside and get active!