Can exercise really help you have a healthy smile?

By Dr. Oscar Marin DDS

A large number of the population suffer headaches, migraines, facial pain and pain in the neck and shoulder.

For some people, this pain has has a significant impact in their daily performance while others have managed to find different ways to cope with it.

Whether this coping mechanism is medication or endurance, neither of these methods really address the source of the problem.


But what is affecting your body?


Your body has a structural framework that is made up by bones and joints. Your muscles attach to your bones and provide the energy and strength to generate movement. Many factors can play a role in the development of imbalance in your framework. Poor alignment, nutrition, sleep, and physical activity all can create problems in your system if not properly managed.
Our lifestyle has changed dramatically in the last few decades and not only we have stopped physical activities that positively stimulate our bodies, like walking and playing outdoors, we have adopted new habits and routines that are detrimental for our health.


People spend incredible amounts of time sitting in front of computer screens and looking down at electronic devices. Work and social media have gradually taken time from our personal interaction and sleep time. All these new habits have contributed to creating a society that is physically unfit and highly stressed out.


Stress is perceived by the brain as potential harm, the brain gets muscles ready to fight or flight. Increase in muscle activity causes muscle fatigue and pain. Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, meditation or a light walk can help your brain keep the stress signals down avoiding chronic health problems.


As much as I’d love to help you managing stress, my main concern is the health of your smile.

Increased levels of emotional stress experienced by the patient generates strain on the muscles  of head and neck and also increase the levels of non-functional muscle activity such as teeth grinding and clenching.

It is my belief based on 20 plus years of experience that there’s no other dental problem that causes more damage than teeth grinding. Teeth grinding causes anything from tooth wear to traumatic bite disease and bite alignment changes. These changes in your bite shift the way your jaw and muscles interact creating harmful muscle strain and further changes in posture of head and neck.

From the dental perspective, a custom protective bite guard can be of tremendous help to prevent any further damage, but one of the most effective strategies to reduce your stress load is exercising regularly.


Now, you might be thinking, where am I going to be able to fit an exercise routine in my already busy schedule?.


In September 2017 we started a free patient bootcamp to help our patients counter the harmful effects that poor daily habits are having in our lifestyle and we’ll keep it going for the first part of 2018. Also we will be giving out valuable information on healthy daily habits in social media, email and newsletters.


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For more information about our patient bootcamp you can go to or call Gisselle at (626)810-5000