Olympic Athletes Pay the Price for Poor Oral Health

Oral health impacts Olympic athletes’ performance, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

The study evaluated data from the dental clinic at the London 2012 Olympics and found that, not only were oral-health problems common among Olympic athletes, but that many of the affected athletes said it impacted their quality of life and/or training. The study also noted that “Nearly half of the participants had not undergone a dental examination or hygiene care in the previous year.”

A report of the study in Runner’s World noted that “Diet, a supressed [sic] immune system due to training, and use of sports drink were cited as possible causes.”

This study demonstrates the need for regular dental prophylaxis and examination, as well as increased education on the effects of nutrition on oral health. The consumption of sports drinks and poor diets are modifiable habits that can help prevent oral health from becoming a burden on athletes’ performance and overall health.