This is how oral health affects sports performance

This is how oral health affects sports performance

Athletes are one of the groups of the population most aware of their oral health, since 88.5 percent are concerned about this, compared with 64 percent of the total population, although only 25 percent comprise the influence it can have on your sports performance, as can be seen from the 'Sanitas Survey of Oral Health'.


"Athletes have daily hygiene habits that are much higher than average. Not only do they usually brush their teeth more frequently, but they tend to use complementary cleaning elements such as dental floss, rinses and irrigator more regularly than rest of the population, "explained Sanitas Dental dentist Patricia Zubeldia.


And, the problems that originate in the oral cavity can trigger infections or discomfort in the rest of the body. Specifically, the most common conditions among athletes are sensitive teeth (26%), caries without filling (17%) and periodontal problems (12%).


The appearance of these problems, especially the last two, generate a series of bacteria that can pass into the blood and, ultimately, spread throughout the blood system until they compromise the bone structure, damage circumcising soft tissues and even affect other muscles, tendons and joints.


Therefore, the expert has insisted that good dental health avoids muscle and / or joint problems that professional or amateur athletes may suffer. However, he points out, not all oral health problems related to sports are linked to blood flow.


Specifically, there are other more common ones that tend to go unnoticed, such as bruxism or poor salivation. The stress of the moment, combined with the intense physical work favors that the teeth are clenched with greater force than usual, a fact that not only can damage the denture and lead to more dental sensitivity, but can lead to contractures of the areas connected to the buccal muscles such as the neck or back.


In addition, the increase in heart rate implies greater oxygen consumption, so breathing tends to accelerate. This act, as explained, causes the decrease in saliva and dry mouth that favor the appearance of oral conditions, or that tooth enamel may be damaged.


Athletes also experience a greater number of extraction of dental pieces and implant placement, specifically between 2.5 and 4 percent more than the rest of the population. The main cause is in contact sports, in which it is common to damage or lose teeth, which can cause open wounds in the gum or soft tissues that are in contact at the time of impact.


On the other hand, Sanitas experts have reported that the most common nutritional supplements in sports practice are the origin of a large number of oral health problems if their consumption is not moderate or is not supervised.


The reason that these food supplements give rise to oral conditions is based on their composition, in which high levels of sugars, carbohydrates, minerals and other elements that compensate for the organism's losses are present, but which in turn favor dental erosion , the appearance of caries and can damage tooth enamel due to its acidic composition.


"You have to maintain strict control over the consumption of food supplements that contain sugars, caffeine and other elements such as minerals or sodium, since its prolonged use can lead to common problems such as tooth decay or enamel damage," Zubeldia added. .


In the same way, supplements such as drinks or energy or nutritional bars tend to adhere to dental pieces, especially in poorly accessible places, favoring the appearance of decay due to their high sugar content.


"In the case of athletes it is essential to go frequently (twice a year minimum) to the dentist for a general review, so that we can prevent oral problems that may lead to general health," the Sanitas Dental dentist has settled. .

Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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