Athletes & Oral Health

While Britain is not known for long hot summers, we still enjoy the weeks of sunshine that eventually come around each year. Along with the warmer season also come favourite past-times like visits to the beach, garden BBQs and Wimbledon - which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

In fact, the tennis Championship is just one reason why Britons might get involved in more sports and enjoy increased time outside in the summer months. From the dental professional's point of view, there are a few things our patients need reminding of in order to maintain their oral health throughout this season.

Oral Health & Athletes

Oral Health & Athletes

Poor oral health is not new in the world of high level sports. As early as 1968, it was noted after examining 400 athletes from 30 countries that there was a significant number with both caries and gingivitis. Anecdotally, it was reported that a few of the athletes with oral infections and on analgesic medication for dental pain either withdrew from the games or were eliminated early in the competition. In the 1980s pre-competition dental screenings were reporting several athletes with severely decayed or abscessed teeth.

Jump ahead to the 2012 Olympic Games in London and we still see poor oral health negatively impacting athletes. In this study, 278 athletes from 25 sports were examined. The overall results showed high levels of poor oral health which included tooth decay (55%), tooth surface erosion (45%), gingivitis (76%) and periodontitis (15%). Forty percent of the athletes said their oral health 'bothered' them, 28% said it had a negative impact on their quality of life and 18% said it impacted their training and performance.

Dental Recommendations

Dental Recommendations

What can dental professionals do to support patients who are involved in high level sports:

  1. Recommend a Waterpik® Water Flosser*
  2. Discuss the importance of regular dental check-ups for early detection and prevention
  3. Eliminate sugary sports drinks from the diet
  4. Stay hydrated to minimise dry mouth

*Due to training schedules and lifestyles of athletes using something that is easy and quick is a priority. A Waterpik® Water Flosser is clinically proven to be more effective than string floss for removing plaque and reducing gingival inflammation and bleeding. It is gentle and soothing for dry mouth and the massaging action helps to keep the tissue healthy.

Cordless Plus Water Flosser - take it with you

Ultra Professional Water Flosser - use at home