Study examines oral health behaviours in elite athletes

4 October 2019

A study carried out by the British Dental Journal earlier this year discovered that poor oral health may impair training and athletic performance. The study examined oral health behaviours in athletes and the potential benefits of oral health intervention. It concluded that athletes had considerably higher rates of oral disease regardless of healthy brushing habits. This disparity might be explained by their heavy consumption of sports drinks and energy snacks. However, the athletes showed great interest in changing their oral hygiene habits and were quite prepared to improve their oral health.

The study examined the oral health and oral hygiene habits of over 300 Olympic and professional athletes. The examiners assessed oral health conditions such as tooth decay, gum disease and tooth erosion.

Almost the the entire study population (94%) reported brushing their teeth twice daily, whilst 44% flossed their teeth on a regular basis. With regards to their oral health risks, approximately half of the athletes had untreated tooth decay whilst a majority showed the first signs of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).

A large portion of the athletes (87%) regularly consumed sports drinks, 59% consumed energy bars and 70% consumed energy gels, all of which contain excessive amounts of sugar in order to boost their physical endurance.

A diet high in sugary and acidic drinks can have a huge impact on your oral health. This can lead to conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease, and is increasingly being linked to more and more general health concerns. If you would like more information on how you can improve your oral health, speak to your dentist, hygienist or book an appointment with one of our oral health educators. Call us today on 0145 2727667 to make an appointment.

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