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How Can Exercise Improve Oral Health?

Exercise Can Boost Oral Health

Exercise has so many documented benefits, including its ability to lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer but research indicates it can also boost oral health. One study published in the Journal of Dentistry showed that regular physical activity can boost periodontal health.

To be more precise, people who exercised regularly had a 54% lower likelihood of developing periodontitis compared to those who led sedentary lives. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey additionally revealed that people who exercised three times a week or less could also reap benefits, which means they have a 33% lower likelihood of developing periodontitis.

There is a vital link between people’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and their dental health. One study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that people who maintain a normal weight and get the recommended amount of exercise had a 40% lower likelihood of having periodontitis. Other health-enhancing behaviors include:

  • Consuming a healthy Mediterranean-style diet;
  • Eating fruits, vegetables; and
  • Healthy fats.

We know that exercise can benefit oral health but it works the other way around too. That is, taking care of your teeth can help protect your heart and therefore, your ability to stay fit and active. A recent study by the European Society of Cardiology found that brushing teeth frequently is linked to a lower risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure. 

Exercise as a whole is conducive to better oral health, particularly gum health. Remember, the recommended amount of exercise to boost oral health varies according to age. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends around 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise. Strength training is also key at least twice a week for major muscle groups.

To access the full article on exercise and dental health, click here.

In partnership with the YMCA, Hally health focuses on a variety of topics aimed at people of any age or fitness level who want to stay healthy and active. Try this yoga floor practice workout, that’s sure to get your heart pumping. To view all of our YMCA partnership fitness videos throughout the month, please visit or