According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Olympic athletes as a whole had worse oral health than other people their age. One in five even had oral health so bad it damaged their training and performance. This study serves as a reminder to all competitive athletes to take more care of their teeth to ensure a lifetime of oral and overall health.
Researchers from the University College London looked at the teeth of over 300 athletes competing in 25 sports and found:
The sample was made up of people who took advantage of the free dental clinic at the Games, so there is a possibility the findings may have been skewed toward athletes with known tooth problems, but researchers say their results were consistent with the findings of previous studies.
As researchers indicated, their results are not actually shocking to people who are familiar with the oral health of high-end athletes. It is common for athletes to have oral health problems that are inconsistent with their overall good health.
Some think that the diet of athletes is to blame. Eating large amounts of carbohydrates can be damaging to teeth. Energy drinks can also cause problems. They contain high amounts of sugar, and athletes often drink them with an otherwise dry mouth, which may promote bacterial growth.
Another potential problem is that training at a high level may put stress on the immune system and put athletes at higher risk for oral disease.
Finally, athletes may just be too focused on their sport and training to dedicate enough time to oral health.
With one in five athletes saying their oral health affected their competitiveness, anyone wanting to become a professional or Olympic-caliber athlete should take the extra effort to focus on their oral health. One researcher on the paper said, “Many sports medics have anecdotes about athletes missing medals at major competitions as a result of oral health problems.”
If you want to avoid becoming the subject of one of those anecdotes, make a cleaning or checkup appointment with your dentist today.
If you are looking for a dentist in Spokane or Spokane Valley, please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics today.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788
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Spokane Valley, WA 99223
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