Effects of Bad Breath, Mouth Infection and Muscle Growth - Health 101

Mouth Hygiene

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Many bodybuilders are not aware that infections of the mouth and gums can decrease muscle gains, as can any type of infection. If you're eating well, training with intensity, and failing to make the gains you should, have yourself tested to see if you have an infection. Even bad gums are enough to send your gains into a tailspin.

Bad breath is not only a turn-off, but it can also lead to peer rejection, social withdrawal, and even divorce, says Dr. Alexander Leung, a leading author on bad breath and its consequences. It can turn stomachs, damage careers, and undermine marriages and relationships. Those who suffer with constant bad breath can be susceptible to depression, stress and anxiety. Since depression, stress and anxiety can cause a reduction in mouth saliva, which is essential to keep the mouth clean, those problems can actually increase bad breath. It's a vicious circle.

Many people are not aware that toothbrushes can create problems. Toothbrushes can become contaminated with normal use and may transmit infections to their owners, medical researchers say. Microbes can gain entry into the body through tiny abrasions in the gums. The risk is greater for older people whose immune systems may be suppressed by drugs or disease, but anyone can be susceptible. One serious condition, an inflammation of the lining of the heart, can be caused by oral micro-organisms.

Dr. S.D. Caudry and colleagues screened the toothbrushes used daily by healthy volunteers and found all but one heavily contaminated with a variety of bacteria and other organisms. When people brush their teeth with used toothbrushes, they put bristles teeming with micro-organisms into their mouths. Many times the organisms grow on the miniscule food particles trapped in the toothbrush bristles. To prevent this, researchers suggest submerging toothbrushes in a solution such as Listerine for 20 minutes after each use. People should buy new toothbrushes every six to eight weeks. Studies, however, indicate that most people buy new toothbrushes only once or twice a year.

Regular brushing, flossing and gargling will reduce risk of gum disease, cavities, tartar and had breath. Regular dental check-up should be done once or twice a year as well. Buy new brushes every month. Between uses store your brush in a glass with Listerine or any medical mouthwash. You may want to invest in an instrument which reduces plaque and tartar, such as lnterplak by Bausch & Lomb.

Check your gums visually on a regular basis.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of gum disease:

» a change in gum color

» gums that bleed every time you brush or floss

» chronic bad breath even with regular gargling and brushing

» a metallic taste in your mouth

» gums that are shiny, puffy, sore or red around the base of your teeth - a feeling of pressure between your teeth after you eat.

Remember, vitamins C and D and calcium and magnesium, as well as other minerals, are important for dental health. A deficiency of certain nutrients can leave your teeth and gums more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.

Healthy teeth and gums are important not only for appearance but also for overall health and fitness. Don't underestimate what gum disease and mouth infections can do to muscle gains.

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