Athletes may often have bodies fit for gods, but there’s one aspect of their physique they tend to fall short on: their oral health. Sadly, bad dental hygiene is doing them no favor at all. A recently conducted study pointed this out, while also somewhat underscoring the need for athletes everywhere to seek the likes of a local emergency dentist in Philadelphia immediately.
According to the review conducted by Britain and North American experts on 39 published studies, there is much to be desired with the state of athletes’ oral health. As much as 15 to 75 percent of the participating athletes had decaying teeth, while as much as 15 percent suffered from moderate to severe gum disase. As for those that suffered from enamel erosion, they made up the biggest bulk at 36 to 85 percent.
About 302 athletes who competed in the 2012 London Olympics were chosen to take part in the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which subjected them to an oral health check-up and directed them to personally assess the impact of their oral health and overall athletic performance. The researchers found out that 55 percent of all participants suffer from tooth decay, and that more than 75 percent had gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
Numerous causes for these conditions have been pointed out, and all of them directly relate to a typical athlete’s lifestyle. For one, most of them consume large amounts of sports drinks, protein shakes, and food bars, which are high in sugar. Sugar does provide an energy boost and that’s a fact, but that boost is nothing in the face of dental pain. There’s a simple explanation behind this: an athlete can never really train properly if his/her tooth aches uncontrollably.
Such inconveniences can prove detrimental in competition, especially at the elite level, where researchers believe that even the tiniest winning margins make the difference. More so, a significant number of study participants (18 percent) did claim that their oral health adversely affected their training and performance in a negative way, further strengthening the argument.
This simply means that athletes need to focus on their teeth the same way they do with their bodies, more so for young ones. Parents who are starting their children young need to instill into their future sports superstars the value of good oral health by maintaining a strict dental hygiene regimen, as well as scheduling regular visits to a trusty Philadelphia pediatric dentist like Dr. Gerald Regni, DMD. As it turns out, the quality of one’s smile can actually spell the difference between winning and losing.
(Source: Elite Athletes Run the Risk of Bad Teeth, Discovery News, October 14, 2014)