A High Carb Diet And Acidic Drinks Are Wrecking Athletes' Teeth

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Poor oral health affecting athletes’ general health and performance shows no signs of improvement and must be remedied, say a group of health experts and sporting bodies.

In a consensus statement published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the authors call for action to tackle poor oral health among athletes.

They say simple measures such as encouraging better brushing and flossing could provide the same marginal performance gains as expensive physical therapies.

A survey at the London 2012 Olympic Games found that 18% of athletes said that their oral health had a negative impact on their performance and 46.5% had not been to the dentist in the past year.

Ian Needleman of the UCL Eastman Dental Institute say oral health could be an easy win for athletes, as the oral conditions that can affect performance are all easily preventable.

“We do not want to demonise energy drinks and are not saying that athletes shouldn’t be using them,” says Professor Needleman.

“However, people should be aware of the risks to oral health and can take simple measures to mitigate these.

“For example, water or hypotonic drinks are likely to be more suitable for simple hydration, and spit, don’t rinse, after tooth brushing.

“For sports where athletes need a lot of energy drinks, high fluoride toothpastes and mouthrinses should be seriously considered.”

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