Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful time with friends and family and have had a terrific start to 2019. If you’re like most people, you probably wrote down a couple New Year’s resolutions. A quick search of the web reveals the most popular resolutions revolve around health and body image. Gyms are busy at this time of year with people just like you who want to lose weight, get stronger, and feel more energetic. As good as physical activity is for overall health, it can also pose risks to your smile. You may suffer an accident while lifting weights or playing your favourite sport, but there are other dangers lurking around you. n Tooth erosion – Researchers found a link between extreme physical activity and an increased risk of cavities and tooth erosion. It was first thought this was due to the consumption of sugary sports drinks and energy bars, however that has been ruled out. The reason behind it is a chemical reaction spurred by exercise. n Tooth grinding. If you like lifting heavy weights, you need to exercise caution. It’s easy to grind your teeth without knowing it while pushing yourself to the max. You can wind up with damaged teeth and painful problems, like headaches and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders. We’re not trying to discourage you from reaching your fitness goals this year. We want to see you as healthy and happy as you possibly can be! So keep these tips in mind when getting active: 1. Focus on your breathing. If you breathe quickly through your mouth, your mouth will dry out. This can promote bacterial growth and erosion. Avoid this by learning the “runner’s breath” to protect your oral health and improve athletic performance. This slows down your breathing pattern. 2. It’s all about that H2O. Water will keep you hydrated and prevent your mouth from drying out. 3. Mouthguards matter. If you’re at risk of tooth grinding, a custom-fit mouthguard is your best line of defense. Not only can it prevent damage and pain, but it can also improve recovery time and athletic performance. It does this by reducing the buildup of cortisol, a stress hormone. If you need a mouthguard, our team can fit you for one! It’s the best option to protect your teeth. Here’s to a great year! If you have certain goals for your smile, let us know what they are. At Dr. Judy Sturm & Associates, your Toronto downtown dentist, we will work closely with you to help you get the best results possible and stay on track with your at-home care routine.