Exercise May Lower the Risk of Gum Disease

January 2014 is almost in the books and for the millions of individuals who made New Year’s resolutions, apparently only 64% are still sticking with it.  According to resolution statistics, only about 45% of Americans actually resolve to make changes in the upcoming year, with a whopping 85% of them vowing to make self-improvements, including getting fit and losing weight.  Do you have any idea how many people are successful at reaching their goals? Whether it’s to save more money, fall in love, lose 10 pounds, or get a college degree, only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick with it and actually succeed.  That’s a pretty discouraging statistic.  I’m not sure why so many people abandon their self-help journeys, but if I were a betting man, I’d guess it had something to do with a little thing called motivation.  Motivation is a fickle thing and often wears thin as time goes on and success slows.  If you’ve vowed to get in shape and take better care of your body but have found your determination waning, let me see if I can help.  This boost of motivation applies to everyone, but if you’re a male who does not exercise, you’ll want to pain close attention.

For years, scientists have been linking gum disease to systemic diseases, such as diabetes and atherosclerosis, building a connection between general wellness and oral health.  Recently, a team at the Hannover Medical School in Germany has found evidence that moderate to severe periodontitis is more common in individuals who do not exercise, particularly men.  The study had 72 male participants, aged 45 to 65 who led fairly sedentary lives with limited physical activity both at work and in spare time.  According to a Dental Tribune article, 30 participants were found to have moderate periodontitis while 12 had a more severe form of the oral disease.  Researchers believe that the link is attributed to the anti-inflammatory effect of regular exercise, which might suppress the effects of periodontal disease.  Additionally, physical activity reduces high blood pressure, which is also associated with gum disease.  The study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Resolving to hit the gym more and be more attentive to dietary habits are often vain attempts at being “beach-body ready” come spring.  But deciding to exercise more can do so much more for your body in addition to simply looking good.  Choosing to exercise more, coupled with good oral hygiene habits, could potentially lower your risk of developing gum disease.  Furthermore, with links between oral health and chronic conditions such as heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and cognitive function, lowering your risk of periodontitis may also lower your risk of developing other, very serious health complications.  Now, get off of that couch, step away from your computer, and get moving! Your mouth will thank you!

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