Exercise and dental health are interlinked

By Dr. Alvin Danenberg, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

November 14, 2018 -- I tell my patients that their gut and health are dependent on moving their body. But many don't know that even dental health is indirectly affected by healthy exercise. Two recent studies are clear: If we want to get healthy and stay healthy, we need to move our bodies. If we don't get moving, our health will suffer. So, get moving or else.

Sedentary lifestyle

“So, get moving or else.”

A study published October 19 in JAMA Network Open (Mandsager et al) shows that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for health than smoking, diabetes, and heart disease combined. That is a powerful statement!

The researchers determined that the risk of death is 500% higher for those with a sedentary lifestyle, compared with the top exercise performers in the study of more than 122,000 patients.

"If you compare the risk of sitting versus the highest performing on the exercise test, the risk is about three times higher than smoking," said Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and senior author of the study, in an article from CNN.

Endurance exercise

Alvin Danenberg, DDS
Alvin Danenberg, DDS.

In a study published October 3 in Frontiers in Microbiology, first author Eveliina Munukka and colleagues found that endurance exercise improved the composition of the gut microbiome. The study looked at 17 women who were selected because they lived a sedentary lifestyle and were overweight. Following six weeks of training, the subjects' gut bacteria were evaluated. The researchers found a decrease in potentially inflammatory bacteria and an increase in specific bacteria that are responsible for improved metabolism.

The health of the gut is critical for the health of the body. I have discussed the importance of the gut in many of my past articles, including one titled "Big Bang Theory of Chronic Disease." In that article, I focused on the gut and its pivotal role in the development and prevention of chronic diseases.

So, what do I tell my patients about how to be proactive?

Efficient exercise

First, I tell them to start moving their body.

While exercise is a critical element for health, it needs to be efficient. Overexercising and improper exercising can be as detrimental to health as a sedentary lifestyle. Efficient exercise produces maximum effects with minimum wasted effort or expense.

An efficient exercise program should consist of a combination of the following:

  • Standing rather than sitting
  • Simple movement such as walking daily
  • Aerobic activity such as playing tennis or jogging a few times a week
  • Full-body weight training like squats, pushups, pullups, and planks twice a week
  • A short but intense anaerobic activity once every seven to 10 days

4-minute workout

Interestingly, there is a simple, daily routine that could go a long way in providing an efficient exercise program for the average person. It only takes four minutes. Incorporate this workout along with walking and standing (rather than sitting), and you will have a well-designed routine.

The intensive exercise routine developed by Dr. Zach Bush -- the Four-Minute Workout, requires no equipment and can be performed anywhere at any time.

One major benefit of this workout is that it stimulates the release of nitric oxide, which is stored in endothelial cells in the blood. This release helps prevent gum disease, according to a July 2016 study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology (Vol. 43:7, pp. 603-608).

Of course, remind your patients that they shouldn't undertake any physical exercise program without first talking with their primary care practitioner.

Bottom line

I tell my patients that it's never too late to start an efficient exercise program, unless, of course, they are medically compromised.

Alvin Danenberg, DDS, practices at the Bluffton Center for Dentistry in Bluffton, SC. He is also on the faculty of the College of Integrative Medicine and created its integrative periodontal teaching module. He also spent two years as chief of periodontics at Charleston Air Force Base earlier in his career. His website is drdanenberg.com.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2018 DrBicuspid.com

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