Good teeth and gums may help with sporting success

Good teeth and gums may help with sporting success

| It’s not unusual for gum disease to have wider effects on the body and is now undisputed in its links with diabetes and heart disease. In addition, it is now thought that inflammation of the gums resulting from poor oral hygiene can impact on the rest of the body as it struggles to deal with the inflammation and, this in turn, may impair performance.

Good Teeth and Gums may Help Sporting Success


It’s not unusual for gum disease to have wider effects on the body and is now undisputed in its links with diabetes and heart disease. In addition, it is now thought that inflammation of the gums resulting from poor oral hygiene can impact on the rest of the body as it struggles to deal with the inflammation and, this in turn, may impair performance.

At the pinnacle of elite sport, the difference between winning and losing is tiny so, even marginal improvements can make a crucial difference.

Professor Ian Needleman, Director of the International Centre for Evidence-Based Oral Health at University College London, told the BBC recently “it’s the accumulation of marginal gains, where the difference between elite athletes at the very top is small then good oral health, amongst other aspects, could make a difference”.

Research done at the London 2012 Olympics found a large proportion of young athletes who were fantastically well tuned physically had really poor oral health with a high proportion reporting it impacted on their training and performance which is clearly an issue for them.

Dr Mike Loosemore, who has worked with the GB team boxing for 17 years and is a consultant at the English Institute of Sport told the BBC “I’ve become aware over the years that dental problems have been interfering with training – it stops them getting that little bit fitter and that may have a consequence when they get into the ring” however, he says things are improving after regular dental checks were introduced. “They don’t like going to the dentists - they would rather be training but, hopefully, they will appreciate it when they have a gold medal around their neck in Rio 2016”.

A study published in the ‘British Journal of Sports Medicine’ showed a fifth of athletes said their oral health had damaged their training and performance for the London 2012 games.

Gums should be toned too and I have treated a number of sportsmen and women and have worked hard with them to get their oral health to an optimum standard and keep their mouths as fit and healthy as the rest of them. Athletes are used to discipline; a good brushing/flossing routine is a walk in the park for them once they have the right information and knowledge.

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