The benefits of exercise to the body are seemingly endless. From stronger muscles to lower body weight and decreased risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke, the pluses of staying fit go way past just looking good. But did you know that one fitness plan in particular can help ward off the gum disease gingivitis? It’s called HIIT, and it could take a swing at this common early-stage gum disease.
What Is HIIT?
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, alternates short bursts of high-intensity anaerobic exercise with short bursts of low-intensity exercise until the subject cannot physically continue. Most HIIT sessions last under 30 minutes but are based on the subject’s fitness level, not on a set time. The more fit you are, the longer your HIIT workout can last.
HIIT workouts are ideal for athletic conditioning and for improving glucose metabolism. HIIT workouts also have been proven to significantly reduce fat-mass. But they’re not for everyone. Due to the intense nature of the HIIT workout, it is recommended that you speak with a physician before attempting a HIIT program.
How Can HIIT Stop Gingivitis?
Recent studies have shown that in addition to their muscle-building and fat-loss benefits, HIIT workouts can reportedly help decrease gingivitis. That is because HIIT improves the health of the body’s mitochondria. You may remember looking at mitochondria under a microscope in school. Mitochondria are organelles that act as the "powerhouses" of a cell. The mitochondria are the part of the cell that takes in nutrients and breaks them down for energy - kind of like the digestive system of your cells. This is known as cellular respiration. The mitochondria also aid the cell in removing waste and keep the cells running at peak performance.
When your mitochondria are healthy, your whole body is more efficient, including your gums. According to a study by the Mitochondria Research Society, dysfunctional or unhealthy mitochondria are responsible for an increase in chronic periodontitis, or CP. Conversely, when you exercise and strengthen your mitochondria, you reduce your risk of certain illnesses, including gingivitis and advanced-stage periodontitis.
Whether you’re already a devotee of HIIT or you’re ready to try it, you can feel good knowing you’re giving yourself the benefit of a whole-body workout. As for those who cannot or do not want to attempt HIIT, there’s still good news. A recent Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (or NHANES III) found that adults who follow the government recommendations for exercise were also at a lower risk of having gingivitis and advanced-stage periodontal disease. So, with just 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, you can reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease with an exercise plan of your choice.
For more tips on preventing gingivitis, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Lederman’s office at 516-882-1764.