Poor Oral Health Affects Athletic Performance

Poor Oral Health Affects Athletic Performance
Posted on 09/30/2014

At Hollar Dental Group, we are firm believers in the idea that total health is not complete without oral health. And, more and more, scientific data is proving us right.

According to a recent study at the University College London Eastman Dental Institute, poor oral health has a significant impact in on Olympic athletes' performance. The study looked at 302 athletes from London's 2012 Olympic village, involving an oral health exam and an assessment by the athletes of their own oral health and the impact it has on their training, quality of life, and performance.

Of the 302 Olympians surveyed, researchers found that an astounding 55% had dental caries (tooth decay), with 41% of those cases carrying permanent and irreversible damage. Additionally, more than 75% of the participants had gingivitis (gum disease) - a level 5 times that of the population at large. Of those with gums disease, 15% had signs of periodontis, which causes irreversible damage to the gums.

"Oral health is important for wellbeing and successful elite sporting performance," says Professor Needleman. "It is amazing that many professional athletes - people who dedicate a huge amount of time and energy to honing their physical abilities - do not have sufficient support for their oral health needs, even though this negatively impacts on their training and performance."

Impact On Performance

Of the athletes surveyed, 18% said that poor oral health had negatively affected their training or performance. Furthermore, 28% said oral health had affected their quality of life, and 42% were "bothered by oral health issues."

The researchers believe there may be a number of causes for the links between oral health and impacted performance and quality of life, but foremost may be oral pain, inflammation, and decreased self-confidence due to poor aesthetic appearance and odor.

According to Professor Needleman, athletes aren't the only ones who should take heed of the findings:

"Clearly, pain and discomfort from tooth decay, dental erosion, periodontal (gum) disease or infected wisdom teeth will affect performance. We see psychological impacts from, for example, bleeding gums, bad odors and poor appearance...These have well-documented effects on confidence."

Schedule An Appointment With Your Warsaw Dentist

Don’t let this happen to you! Whether you’re looking for athletic performance, self-confidence, or overall quality of life, good oral health is critical to good total health. Feel free to request an appointment using our online form, or contact us at our Warsaw, IN office. And, don’t forget to check back to this blog – we’ll keep it up to date with news from the exciting world of orthodontics!

Dental Health P.C.

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