Sports performance starts with a healthy mouth

calendario 20-Oct-2017
Dra. Libertad Caro
Specialist in Periodontology and Dental Implantology

Having a healthy mouth is essential for any individual’s health, and this is even more true for athletes. Oral health and sports are closely linked, since oral health directly influences performance when doing physical activity.

Why it’s important to have a healthy mouth

According to a recent study undertaken by British researchers, elite athletes who do not have good oral health are more likely to suffer muscle, ligament, tendon and bone injuries.

Dental diseases and athletes

One of the main oral health issues we find with athletes is the likelihood of cavities. Sports nutrition is based on a diet of carbohydrates and sugared drinks which, when combined with stress, entail an increased risk of cavities.
Bruxism or the habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw; leads to your teeth wearing down, head aches as well as muscle problems that affect performance, this is why warding off bruxism should be a priority.
Gum problems are also oral health problems which athletes can suffer from, which is why it’s crucial for athletes to receive special treatment in these areas. This is why regular check-ups with a periodontitis specialist are recommended, as well as learning and performing proper oral hygiene which can prevent possible complications.

The relationship between sport and oral health

Everyone knows that our oral health is an important part of wellbeing and quality of life. Dental diseases produce inflammation which can lead to the development of serious muscular and coronary diseases as well as respiratory disorders. As far as sports activity and being in shape in general are concerned, they are also both associated with a healthy lifestyle, reducing the risk of ailments. That’s why, since sports place increased demands on the body to handle the specific physical requirements, athletes need to pay particular attention to their oral health, since getting cavities can affect sports performance.

Since we can’t conceive of an athlete, who exercises, suffering from a health problem, it isn’t acceptable for athletes, including elite ones, suffer from oral health issues. Now-a-days, sports are highly professionalised, with exhaustive planning and monitoring especially when performance can be affected. How then can oral health be forgotten about in so many cases?