Athletes are often seen as representing the pinnacle of health. However, all that training can take a toll on their dental health in a variety of ways. Dr. Beshar sheds light on this issue with a closer look at dental health and tooth loss among athletes for our patients in New York, NY.
Dental Health Among Elite Athletes
First, let’s look at what dental care is like at the Olympics. This traditional athletic event occurs every four years and brings the world together to showcase a series of athletes. It’s where the best of the best come to compete, and they’re well taken care of while they’re here.
From doctors to food and shelter, the athletes receive excellent treatment during their stay. This also includes dental care, and at the 2012 London Olympics, there were 30 dentists at the Olympic Village dental clinic ready to care for the world’s athletes.
However, what many people may not have realized is how poorly maintained these athlete’s teeth were. Over the course of the two-week event, the clinic received nearly 2,000 visits from athletes with various dental problems. Tooth decay, gum disease, loose teeth, and more — the clinic was overwhelmed almost every day.
3 Reasons Athletes Experience Poor Oral Health
But why is this? What makes these patients, at the peak of their performance level, have such bad teeth? Let’s take a look:
- Exertion: It takes a lot of energy to be at your very best. However, if you don’t consistently hydrate, you sweat less and dispense less saliva. Saliva is what keeps those harmful, cavity-causing bacteria at bay, so drinking plenty of water can help.
- Snacks & Drinks: What do athletes reach for after expending all that energy during training? Often, it’s sugary or acidic sports drinks and snacks, which erode your teeth and this can lead to cavities. Take a look at the label of your favorite energy booster: does it have more sugar than proteins? Then it may be time to rethink what you’re eating while you’re training.
- Time: It also comes down to basic neglect — if the athlete simply doesn’t have time to care for their teeth, then it can often lead to more cavities.
Athletes Improving Dental Health
It’s important to be conscious of what you put in your body: drink water to stay hydrated, don’t reach for the sugary drinks, and opt for more natural foods instead of processed energy bars. Take good care of your teeth, even when you’re tired. Brush, floss, use mouthwash, and anything else you need to keep them healthy.
While rare, it has happened where the oral health of an Olympic Athlete jeopardized their performance and it may have cost them a medal. What started as a single cavity could turn into an infection that affects other parts of your body too.
Are Dental Implants a Good Idea for Athletes?
So, what happens when an athlete experiences tooth loss? Athletes can consider all their options, including dental implants, both for the benefits to their natural teeth and their performance.
Dental implants can easily replace lost teeth and fit snuggly between your natural teeth. They are meant to look and feel like any other tooth while staying just as durable. Dental implants aren’t like dentures or bridges, either. They won’t get in the way of your performance, fall out, or become loose over time.
Contact Marc J. Beshar Dentistry
More patients than ever before can qualify for dental implants, so don’t hesitate to contact our office in New York, NY. To get started, call our staff at 212-753-2240 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Beshar today.