A study due to be published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology found that 50% of elite British sports stars suffer from tooth decay and two-thirds suffer from gum disease.
More than 350 sportsmen and women from nine different GB Olympic teams were studied as well as members of Team Sky, England Rugby, and Reading FC.
Further information collected from the study revealed that 77% of those screened had gingivitis and 39% reported that they had noticed their gums bled on a regular basis after brushing. Meanwhile, a mere 1.1% showed ‘excellent’ periodontal health.
So why do some of the most physically healthy people in world have such bad oral hygiene?
Confusingly, 97% of participants said they brushed their teeth twice daily, suggesting that members of this demographic are not neglecting their oral hygiene. Professor Ian Needleman from the UCL Eastman Dental Institute observed that elite sportspeople are often ‘heavily reliant on frequent carbohydrate intakes, which are known to increase inflammation in the body and gum tissues’. Participating in sports such as running and cycling, where there is a high level of airflow, can cause a very dry mouth, lowering the efficacy of saliva cleansing the mouth of bacteria and making elite sportspeople more susceptible to a build-up of plaque and tartar.
Even if you do not partake in sport to the level discussed above, it is still very easy for energy drinks to affect your oral hygiene. Competing for a local team or university team may involve anything from 1-5 training sessions and 2+ matches a week, and many participants consume energy drinks to keep their stamina up. If you are frequently consuming these kind of drinks, it’s essential that you attend regular oral hygiene check ups to ensure they are not negatively affecting your gums and teeth.
Airflow polishing at Smile Up
Airflow teeth polishing is a treatment that can be performed as part of a hygiene appointment, removing the damaging biofilm that develops when dental plaque is colonised by bacteria. Regularly removing plaque and tartar will significantly reduce your chances of developing gum disease and these type of appointments should be attended in addition to routine check-ups with the dentist.
Here in Lewisham, we understand how busy our patients are. We’re open 7 days a week, so you don’t have to worry about meticulously planning around your schedule to fit in an appointment. We look forward to welcoming you at Smile Up.