If you have been trying to get healthy, but you’re not having a lot of luck, maybe it’s time to see the dentist. It’s probably not your first thought, but the truth is that gum disease can significantly undermine your ability to start and maintain a healthy exercise regimen.
Fighting Infections Takes Energy
Don’t forget that gum disease is an infection. Your body is trying to fight off an invasion of oral bacteria into gums. That eats up your body’s resources.
Think about how much your energy level can drop when you’re fighting a cold or the flu. It’s the same thing when it comes to gum disease. You just don’t notice because the infection is chronic and your energy levels have been reduced for so long you can’t tell the difference. Getting your gum disease under control can free up more energy for your body to spend on things like exercise.
Gum Disease Leads to Diabetes
Gum disease and diabetes have a reciprocal relationship: diabetes puts you at increased risk for gum disease, and gum disease can make diabetes worse. Diabetes can sap your energy levels. High blood sugar levels can turn your blood into molasses (not literally, but you get the idea), and blood vessels can become inflamed. Inflammation draws immune cells to the brain, which can cause fatigue. Low blood sugar, on the other hand, means your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to function.
Diabetes is also linked to anemia, low thyroid function, and low testosterone levels.
Gum disease is linked with heart problems, including clogged arteries. If you find that exercise really seems to be taxing your heart, talk to your doctor about it, then make an appointment with the dentist, because treating gum disease can help reduce your heart disease symptoms.
Diminished Benefit from Exercise
And here’s another reason to get your gum disease treated. Even if you manage to maintain a good exercise routine, you might not be getting the full benefit from it if you have gum disease. Part of the rejuvenating impact of exercise is that it helps extend the telomeres in your DNA. Telomeres are like little fuses in your DNA: they diminish over time and without them, your cells can’t reproduce and they die. By making telomeres longer, exercise helps extend your life.
But research shows that people who have gum disease don’t see the same benefit from exercise. Exercise doesn’t extend telomeres in people with gum disease.
Have a Healthier Tomorrow
Oral health is an essential foundation for overall health. If you’re looking to get healthy through exercise, it’s important to start by ensuring you have healthy gums.