Sports medicine has become an integral part of most sporting activities. Athletes undergo various preventative and treatment options to ensure that the individual performs at his best during competitions and training.
Initially, scientists didn’t pay so much attention to oral health. However, with recent studies showing that bad oral health actually affects your general wellbeing, it has become a crucial part of sports medicine. Athletes from different sporting activities will undergo various examinations and treatment sessions to ensure that they are healthy and ready to participate in training and competitions.
Oral problems associated with sports training
Different studies show that athletes go through various oral problems. For instance, most athletes are at a higher risk of suffering from different dental conditions such as xerostomia or dry mouth, dental caries, trauma, cavities, tooth decay, and other gum diseases, tooth erosion, discoloration, and teeth grinding – which comes as a result of a dry mouth.
In the research, where 302 athletes were tested, scientists found out that 40% of them had concerns with their oral health. 28% said their oral health hurt their quality of life, and 18% reported that bad oral health affected their performance. They also found that 55% of them had cavities, 76% had periodontal diseases, and 46% suffered from dental erosion.
Where do these problems arise from
Typically, these problems arise from the type of activities that athletes have to undergo and maintain peak performance during competitions. For instance, during training, the athlete needs to take in large quantities of calories to provide energy to the body. This means that he or she needs to consume protein-rich foods that have large amounts of sugar or sports drinks that are sugary and acidic. For swimmers, swimming in water with a low pH can cause discoloration and tooth erosion.
Also, sports-related stress is another problem that causes gum diseases, cavities, tooth erosion, and grinding. Scientists also found out that tooth decay and gum disease can lead to inflammation of the body. On top of that, increased mouth breathing during training and competitions leads to a dry mouth, which creates a suitable environment for bacteria to grow. Bacteria in the mouth will cause tooth decay and other periodontal diseases.
Things to do to maintain their oral health
Given that an athlete’s oral health can affect their overall performance in the field, it’s essential that you take care of it. Every athlete should prioritize their oral health and include it in their training program. The athlete should also aim to brush their teeth twice a day. Using fluoride toothpaste to clean the teeth for at least two minutes will ensure that food remains don’t remain between the teeth and gums. If you are not in a position to brush your teeth, try to rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gums after snacking or meals. Another thing you should do is visit a dentist such as Green Apple Dental for a complete oral checkup at least twice a year.