Olympians Depend on Dental Care

Think “Olympics” and you think of athletes in the best of  health, with special equipment to ski, skate, swim, dive, or do some other amazing feat that defies gravity.  These athletes must have the best in training, equipment and, surely, dental care. Not so.

Professor Ian Needleman of the University College London Eastman Dental Institute, published a study conducted on 302 Olympic athletes in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.


The athletes were from the Americas, Africa, and Europe and represented a cross-section of 25 sports, with the majority being from track and field. The studies were surprising. Of the entire group, 55 percent had some sort of tooth decay from mild to serious cavities. But the most surprising finding was about 75 percent of the athletes had gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria.

“It’s surprising to think that with all the training, these top athletes are not also in top dental condition,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “Certainly a healthy mouth is as important as performance wear,” she adds.
In an interview with Medical News Today, Dr. Needleman reported that the athletes suffered from discomfort and pain, erosion of gum tissue and even social embarrassment caused by bad breath and decay. “These have well-documented effects on confidence. It has also been shown that infection in the mouth, for instance from periodontal disease, increases the levels of inflammation in the rest of the body and this can impair performance as well as increase risk of injury.”

If top-performing athletes can improve their performance by getting better dental care, imagine what regular dental visits and regular dental hygiene can do for your home, office, and personal performance. It’s enough to make you smile. With bright, clean, healthy teeth.

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