• Javonte Maynor

Elite Athletes Have Poor Oral Health

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

Over the past few years, studies have shown that the sports industry has seen more and more athletes complain about their oral health. Many of these complaints was associated with tooth decay that had reached the nerves in the gum. Pain from tooth decay was reported to have negatively impacted the athletes training and performance. Despite survey results showing that over 90% of the athletes practice good oral hygiene, brushing twice a day and never smoking, a 2018 paper reported that nearly half of the athletes examined had untreated tooth decay.

The cause for the tooth decay could be from the consumption of sports drinks, energy bars, and energy gels that are known to damage teeth. "Sugar in theses items increase the risk of tooth decay and the acidity in them increase the risk of erosion", said researcher Dr Julie Gallagher (UCL Eastman Dental Institute Centre for Oral Health and Performance). Another cause for tooth decay could be from dry mouth during intense training, according to the centre. If you are an athlete and experience poor oral health, then you should consider behavior changes such as additional fluoride use from mouthwash, more frequent dental visits, and reducing your intake of sports drinks.

For more information on the study of athletes and oral health click here.

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