Why Olympic Athletes Have More Tooth Decay
Consider Olympic athletes, the superhuman representatives of the sports world, who must have better access to huge health support systems, are actually faring no better than the average American adult in dental care. Many Olympic players have poor oral health. Why so?
A case in point is the 2012 London Olympics, where three-quarters of the athletes have gingivitis. A study was conducted and reported on the impact of of an athlete’s risk factors on his oral health; the results are amazing. A good 30% of athletes had taken facial blows, such as blows to the mouth or jaw. These can result to broken, chipped or cracked teeth, gum and tongue injuries and cracked or dislocated jaws. They are acquired at practice training or during the actual games and dental attention may be nil or not as comprehensive because of the immediate need to compete.
Another factor is the immense contribution to tooth decay of high carbohydrate diets and sugary sports and energy drinks. Also, athletes’ prolonged training has led to dehydration in the mouth, the perfect environment for bacterial growth leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Further, in the same study, 9% of the 300 athletes had never visited a dentist. These Olympians are from all social stratas, from developed and developing countries.
These are the risk factors many if not all athletes face, Olympian or not. While medical care for athletes is strong, dentistry seems to be neglected. Athletes do not seem to prioritize oral care, or their organizing bodies either, for that matter. As a result, the Academy for Sports Dentistry in the US took action, and with the support of the US Olympics Committee, had dentist-volunteers treat the country’s top 1,000 elite athletes. Hopefully, from hereon, athletes’ dental health be given its proper attention. Pain and infection can impact an athlete’s performance. He can be in the peak of physical endurance but because of tooth and gum problems, he is instead fighting infection that can diminish his chances to compete or win.
Better Oral Health for Athletes and Others at Bellevue
If you’re an athlete and enjoying good body health, remember that oral care is very much part of overall well-being. Olympian or not, take care of your teeth and gums. We at Overlake Dental welcome all patients seeking dental attention and ensuring we provide the best of Bellevue dentistry.