Athletes are taught from an early age to take care of their body. Without good care, they’ll not be as competitive as they might be. They know if they’re not fit, they have less chance of success. And those going to the Olympics face a serious set of challenges. It takes years and years of preparation, An intensive training regimen, and a long series of trials before anyone can qualify for the Olympics.
But a recent study done of athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games revealed one part of total health that seems to have been overlooked.
“Oral health is important for well-being and successful elite sporting performance,” says Professor Ian Needleman of the Eastman Dental Institute, part of University College in London. “many professional athletes do not have sufficient support for their oral health needs.”
In a study of athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Dr. Needleman’s group found that over half of the participants had dental caries (tooth decay), three-quarters had gingivitis (early gum disease), and that 15% showed signs of periodonitis, a more serious form of gum disease. Furthermore, 18% of the athletes said they thought poor oral health was negatively impacting their training or performance.
Dr. Needleman points out that poor oral health doesn’t just impact an athlete’s confidence or comfort level. “infection in the mouth, four instance from periodontal disease, increases the level of inflammation in the rest of the body, and this can impair performance as well as increase the risk of injury.”
The point, of course, is that oral health is a very important part of your whole health. No matter how hard they train, even elite athletes can hurt their performance by not addressing their oral health. And that’s true for all of us. So make your oral health a priority and it will also help your overall body’s health as well.