Exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, builds bone and protects against osteoporosis and frailty later in life. Unfortunately, only bone under stress seems to benefit. For example, runners, who carry their own body weight, tend to have stronger leg bones than cyclists. Crossfit provides excellent training for bone strength. It includes weighted movements that target, stress and should strengthen most of the bones in the human body. That is provided you don’t over train and damage them or have an accident (see post on the risks and benefits of box jumps.)
Exercise may help protect against tooth loss or weakness.
One area that weight lifting and most forms of exercise will not target are the bones that make up our jaws (although some do manage to make an exception here. Look around and check facial expressions during heavy lifts). It is important that these bones stay healthy. If they degrade they will not be able to hold onto your teeth. Unfortunately, there has been very little research on exercise and tooth loss. The only study found in a literature search of Web Of Knowledge saw less tooth loss among older Japanese men who exercised daily (Yoshida et al. 2001.) This doesn’t quite tell us enough, because of other variables that are also associated with more or less tooth loss such as hygiene, frequency of professional care, dietary habits and smoking.
Is chewing gum good exercise for the bones supporting teeth?
Chewing gum may strengthen jaw bones and could protect chewers from tooth loss or improve the outcome of periodontal disease. A research team in Russia studied the effect of chewing gum on bone density in 93 periodontal patients (Loginova et al. 2006.) Bone density increased on the active chewing side. For optimal effect make sure to switch your gum from right to left periodically. Goes for the rest of your training too. The full paper is available in Russian. Yoshida Y, Hatanaka Y, Imaki M, Ogawa Y, Miyatani S, & Tanada S (2001). Epidemiological study on improving the QOL and oral conditions of the aged–Part 2: Relationship between tooth loss and lifestyle factors for adults men. Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science, 20 (6), 369-73 PMID: 11840690 Loginova NK, Veĭsgeĭm LD, & Churina SV (2006). [Influence of course use of chewing gum on alveolar bone density]. Stomatologiia, 85 (2), 22-4 PMID: 16710273