Olympic athletes devote an incredible amount of time to their training and body fitness.  But, according to Professor Ian Needleman of the University College London Eastman Dental Institute, oral disease can affect their performance.

Professor Needleman published his research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.  He conducted a study of 302 Olympians from the London athletes village in 2012.  The research team examined the athlete’s oral health and self-evaluation of their quality  of life and performance.  The researchers  found that over half of the athletes had tooth decay and more than 75% had gingivitis.  The conclusion was that these sportswomen and men, who competed in the London games, had oral health problems similar to that seen in disadvantaged populations. 

But how did this affect their performance?  There are two factors.  First, almost half of the athletes said they were “bothered by oral health issues” and 18% believed poor oral  health was affecting their performance or training in a negative way.  So here we see how dental problems can affect our confidence levels. This finding is also relevant to the general public.  Secondly, we can see how inflammation from periodontal disease can affect the rest of the body.  This association to certain types of heart disease and diabetes is well documented.  

Whether you are a serious athlete or a weekend gym rat, poor oral health can have an affect on your confidence and whole body health.