In light of the recent Sochi XXII Olympic Winter Games, a report by researchers at the University College London revealed that professional athletes that competed in the 2012 Olympics in London had very poor levels of oral health. Their oral health problems were bad enough that they had a negative effect on sports performance.
The team of researchers looked at oral health check-up results of over 300 athletes and also interviewed them. Over half of the athletes, representing sports like track, boxing, and hockey, had tooth decay. More than 75% had gingivitis and 15% were starting to show signs of periodontitis. About half of the athletes reported that these oral health problems were bothersome. Furthermore, around 20% of them reported that poor oral health was negatively impacting their training and athletic performance. In fact, 9% of the athletes had never even been to a dentist before.
In order to conceptualize these staggering statistics, Professor Needleman of the University College London Eastman Dental Institute speculates that high sugar sports drinks, gels, and snacks with a high carbohydrate content. Consuming both high sugar and high carbohydrate foods and drinks without frequent brushing contributes to cavity formation and other oral health problems.
Needleman was quoted as saying, “Oral health is important for well-being and successful elite sporting performance. It is amazing that many professional athletes — people who dedicate a huge amount of time and energy to honing their physical abilities — do not have sufficient support for their oral-health needs, even though this negatively impacts on their training and performance.”
Again, we see that poor oral health can affect all aspects of a person’s life even as an Olympic athlete. Easily treatable ailments like dental cavities should not keep an athlete from performing to his or her best potential.
Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Kim or Dr.Pradhan. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.