There was a new study looking at Olympic athletes in the 2012 Olympics held in London. This study looked at 278 Olympic athletes that visited a dental clinic set up during the games. The athletes were from around the world. It found that 55% of the athletes had untreated dental cavities, 45% had tooth erosion, and 76% had gum disease.
Do Athletes Have a Higher Risk For Oral Issues?
Another study looked only at athletes on Olympic teams. 350 athletes The results show more findings of oral issues 49% had untreated cavities and 77% had gum disease. Around 97% of the athletes in the study said they brushed twice a day, and 40% said they flossed every day. So why are athletes at a higher risk of tooth decay?
Is an Athlete's Diet the Cause?
One issue we believe is causing oral problems is their diet. Athletes often rely on heavy carbs intake to boost their energy when training or competing. And they often drink carbs in the form of sugars mixed in with acidic sports drinks, sticky carbs, or slick gels. These can give oral bacteria a boost as much as it boosts the athletes. Many athletes also dry their mouths out when training or competing, especially runners and cyclists who are breathing hard and moving fast. Saliva protects teeth, and without it, cavities are more likely.
Everyone needs to take care of their teeth, but athletes can have a special burden. The sugary drinks, dry mouths, sweating and falling can each take a toll, some more than others. If you engage in physical activity regularly, it is important to know the signs of gum disease and have a plan in place. Call our office today. We can get you set up with a routine of visits to ensure your oral health is as healthy as your physical health is.