How Oral Health of Athletes Can Affect their Performance
Professional athletes are very fit. But their good physical health often does not extend to their oral health. Many athletes suffer from poor oral health. The very training regime that leads to their physical strength and stamina causes oral health.
To keep up with their nutritional needs during training, most athletes consume diets that are high in carbohydrates, including sports and energy drinks. The sugars and acidity of these drinks causes tooth decay and enamel erosion.
When one eats or drinks anything, a sticky film called plaque forms on the teeth. Plaque is made up of sugars and millions of bacteria. This bacteria feeds on sugars, and releases acid as a byproduct. The acid erodes the teeth, leading to cavities and tooth decay. Consuming foods and beverages that are high in sugar or acidity contributes to this process, speeding up the rate of decay.
Even if they do consume these high-carbohydrate diets, there are things that athletes can do to improve their oral health.
• Drink plenty of water: Water helps to clean the mouth by washing away the sugars, acid and bacteria.
• Brush often: Thoroughly brushing twice a day helps to remove plaque from the teeth. Using a toothpaste high in fluoride helps to restrengthen weakened tooth enamel.
• Floss daily: Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene since it cleans the areas between the teeth that are missed by a toothbrush.
• Visit a dentist regularly: Semi-annual dental visits for a professional cleaning and oral exam help ensure good oral health.
• Wear a mouthguard: Wearing a mouthguard while engaging in sports significantly cuts down on oral injuries.
For more information, consult with our dentist.
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