Half Of Professional Athletes Have Tooth Decay

Professional athletes are at a greater risk of rotting teeth, despite practising good oral hygiene, a recent report has shown.

University College London (UCL) researchers looked at the teeth of 352 professional athletes from 11 sports.

They found that while 94 per cent of the males and females brushed their teeth two times a day, 49 per cent suffered from untreated tooth decay. It even revealed that almost a third (32 per cent) found their oral health had a detrimental effect on their performance.

Even though their oral hygiene is much better than the general public – with only 75 per cent of Brits brushing their teeth twice daily – they have a higher risk of oral damage, the report, which was published in the British Dental Journal, found.

Dr Julie Gallagher, a researcher at UCL, said the reason behind this is due to their heavy use of sports drinks, energy gels and bars, especially during peak training and competition times.

“The sugar in these products increases the risk of tooth decay and acid erosion we saw during dental check-ups,” Dr Gallagher stated.

A German study, published in the Daily Mail, also found that endurance athletes are more likely to suffer from enamel erosion, as they do not produce enough salvia.

As the minerals found in spit neutralises acid, not having enough of this due to dehydration means acid is left in the mouth to erode the teeth enamel.

To prevent this, athletes who take part in high-intensity cardio exercise should drink more water to neutralise this acid.

Dr Gallagher also recommends fitness enthusiasts to use mouthwash for additional fluoride, limiting sports drinks, and visiting your Guildford dentist more regularly.