Half of the athletes need to take extra care of their oral health according to the speakers of the Perio Link Night: Dr. Ian Needleman, from University College London; Dr Mike Loosemore, from the 2018 Winter Olympics, and Dr. Marzia Massignani, from Sunstar. This and other powerful facts were stated during the event organized by the Sunstar Foundation to discuss how poor oral health is related with lower sports performance in elite athletes.
Recent research has shown that elite athletes are at high risk of having oral health issues. According to the testimonies of several athletes such as the Boxer Anthony Joshua or the Cross country skier Christian Zorzi, there are few causes: intensive training and extreme conditions they push their bodies through, high intake of calories usually provided by sports drinks with high sugar content. Also, most of the athletes experience dry mouth, which is a perfect condition for bacteria to grow.
According to Dr Needleman, ‘It is not only about having healthy gums, but it is also about your performance‘.
How does poor oral health affect sports performance?
Oral health impacts negatively on athletes” performance in several ways. For example, there is a direct link between missing training and untreated mouth problems. In addition, there is a connection between the inflammation in the mouth and the inflammation in the whole body. This link has been widely studied, reporting associations between poor oral health and diseases such as diabetes. As a result, according to Dr Needleman studies, when oral health is improved, there is a positive influence on the overall health and well-being.
Education, awareness and behavioural change are the answers
What can we do about that? When asking the experts, all panellists agree: raising awareness, education and behavioural change .Oral care seems not to be a priority in top athletes medical check-up until they have pain. Therefore, it seems obvious that oral care should become part of a top athlete routine, along with diet, physical therapy and training.
Also, it is essential to recall that not only top athletes should include oral care in their daily routines. Every day, there are more and more people getting involved in sports, so it is necessary for them to take care of their mouth as well. As stated by Dr Massignani, on behalf of the Sunstar Foundation, this is, indeed, a huge opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene. The answers is a more holistic approach to health.
1. Download athletes” testimonials here [ https://mci-creation.wetransfer.com/downloads/b03dc8efa62c67db2a42dd2819fefb9620180620112707/2841ff616315df3c1d1e46e5919c770320180620112707/73f976 ]
2. Oral health and impact on performance of athletes participating in the London 2012 Olympic Games: a cross-sectional study. Needleman,1 P Ashley,2 A Petrie,3 F Fortune,4 W Turner,4 J Jones,4 J Niggli,4 L Engebretsen,5,6,7 R Budgett,7 N Donos,1 T Clough,8 S Porter9. http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/47/16/1054
Which are the basic recommendations to improve oral health, then? Brushing your teeth twice a day, interdental brushing and mouthwash, and dental check-up twice a year.
AMSTERDAM, June 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —