Dental Hygiene and...Exercise? What Your Dog Wants You To Know
You may be wondering, what does dental hygiene have to do with exercise? The answer is, more than you might expect. As humans, we like to think of the different body systems and organs as having their own tasks; separate from other bodily functions. This is one reason why we have doctors who specialize in all different areas relating to medicine. However, veterinarians have a very different philosophy when it comes to treating their furry, feathery, or scaly patients. They tend to look at the health of animals in a more holistic sense - all the organ systems are interrelated, and their functions are important to the animal as a whole. Neglecting one facet of an animal’s health can set off a domino effect and ultimately influence how long it might live, and the quality of its life. Now as you may know, we humans are animals, or mammals, actually. In fact, we are so similar to our four-legged companions, that in researching gum disease in animals and humans, the clinical study information I compiled from an animal hospital association, conditions associated with poor oral health, mirrored almost exactly the information I gathered from The Mayo Clinic's human studies on the same conditions: heart, lung, brain, kidney, and liver diseases, among others.
Does this list surprise you? You may also notice that there is quite a bit of overlap here in terms of how many of these conditions/diseases in humans are shown to be directly or indirectly related to living a sedentary lifestyle! Here’s the connection...are you ready? That’s because...drumroll please...dental hygiene and exercise are both forms of preventive medicine and they should be treated as such! So, as most of us (hopefully) are in the habit of brushing our teeth twice a day, so too should we make daily exercise a habit, because it is vitally important to our overall health and wellness.
Whew, thanks for sticking with me on this one! Happy brushing and moving!
~Shara Swager, BS, CSCS, IC, Fitness Specialist, Health As We Age, Inc.
Sources: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475 ; https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/why_accreditation_matters/guidelines_position_statements/aaha_dental_care_guidelines_for_dogs_and_cats.aspx ; https://www.petmd.com/dog/grooming/evr_dg_oral_hygiene_and_your_dogs_health