A new study done by the UCL Eastman Dental Institute has revealed that many elite athletes have poor oral health, despite the fact that they brush their teeth twice daily and floss regularly. The report stated that that 94 per cent of the athletes have brushed their teeth two times a day and 44 per cent of them have been found to regularly floss. Now, as surprising as it may sound, these numbers are substantially higher when compared to the general population. 75 per cent of the general population brush their teeth twice daily and only 21 per cent floss.

The research team from the UCL Eastman Dental Institute conducted a dental check-up on 352 Olympic and professional athletes across 11 various sports. They found that about 49 per cent of the athletes had untreated tooth decay, and most of them also showed early signs of gum inflammation. About 32 per cent of the athletes claimed that their poor oral health hampered their training and performance. Not surprisingly, most of the athletes claimed that they have been following all the necessary methods and steps required for good oral health and hygiene, and this correlated with what the researchers found and observed while conducting the dental check-ups.

The approaches that these athletes followed to maintain their oral health was not the cause of their poor oral hygiene, and neither were some other factors that cause poor oral health such as dry mouth and decreased salivary flow while exercising. The real culprit was found to be the snacks and beverages that athletes consume regularly while they train, before performing, or during a game. These included sports drinks, energy gels, and sports bars, which contain a considerable amount of sugar that can be concerning to both oral and general health if frequently consumed over long periods of time.

These types of athletic performance products led to the tooth decay half of the athletes in the study were experiencing. The acidity that these products cause leads to an increase in the risk of erosion. It was this tooth decay and acid erosion that the researchers found in their dental check-ups.

Dr. Gallagher, one of the researchers on the study, said that “athletes were willing to consider behaviour changes such as additional fluoride use from mouthwash, more frequent dental visits, and reducing their intake of sports drinks, to improve oral health.” The study successfully revealed a problem faced by different athletes, and how they can potentially solve the problem by reducing their consumption of sports drinks, energy bars and other such sugary products.

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here