Olympic Levels of Bad Oral Health

We like to think that Olympic athletes are in top physical health and that they all must have world-class health care. The truth about their oral health – not so world class!

The British Journal of Sports Medicine just published a study that showed that these elite athletes had levels of oral health similar to people in disadvantaged populations. Almost 20% of the athletes surveyed at the London games said that their oral health had a negative impact on their training or athletic performance.

Nearly half of the survey participants said they had not gone to the dentist for an exam or hygiene care over the past year and 8.7% said they had never been to the dentist.

The researchers recruited 302 athletes to participate in the study. They were all given oral health checkups and asked questions about their oral health and its impact on their sport. 55% of the athletes had cavities and more than 75% had gingivitis.

Previous studies have also found poor oral health among elite athletes. Scientists believe this occurs because of frequent carbohydrate intake, lack of awareness about the importance of oral health and its links to performance and reduced immune function caused by the intense training.

Because poor oral health has been linked to so many overall health problems we can only hope that studies like this will draw attention to the need for improved oral health among athletes.

If you haven’t visited the dentist in a while, tie on your sneakers and run on over… Contact Asheville area cosmetic dentist Dr. John Highsmith today at 828-627-9282 today to schedule your next visit.

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Posted in: Oral Health

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