Half of GB’s top athletes suffer from tooth decay

Report claims their high-carb diets are rotting teeth and causing gum disease

 

In a huge study involving 350 athletes from nine Great Britain Olympic teams, as well as Team Sky cyclists, England rugby players and football clubs, researchers at University College London found high levels of gum disease, tooth decay and other oral health problems.  These problems were enough, claimed the report, to impact on their sports performance and on the quality of their life.  All very interesting … but at Carisbrook we are inclined to believe that there is very likely to be another additional crucial factor that also contributes to the athletes’ dental problems.

 

According to Professor Ian Needleman who co-led the study, ‘Nutrition in sports is heavily reliant on frequent carbohydrate intakes, which are known to increase inflammation in the body and gum tissues.’

 

Around 49 per cent of those tested were found to have untreated tooth decay, while 77 per cent had gingivitis, an early indicator of gum disease.  More than a third reported having bleeding gums while cleaning their teeth.

 

Despite these shocking statistics, around 97 per cent of the athletes questioned said that they brushed their teeth twice a day and 40 per cent said that they also flossed daily.

 

So, the researchers concluded that many of the dental problems are most probably down to their high-carb diets.  They also urged athletes to ensure that they went for regular dental check-ups, which of course forms a crucial part of our own preventative dentistry recommendations.

 

We agree that the research report is most probably correct in highlighting the relationship between high-carb diets tooth decay and gum disease, but we do believe that there could very well be another factor that should also be considered.

 

It is well known that for many athletes high-energy drinks also play a major role within their training regime.  Many of these drinks are heavily laden with sugars and are also often carbonated; and both of these are severely detrimental to the health of teeth – sugar and carbon dioxide being major causes of tooth decay.

 

Avoiding excessive sweet, fizzy drinks is something we always stress to patients and especially to parents as part of our preventative dentistry advice and our cleaning advice.  This is particularly important with young children for whom tooth decay has become a major medical issue.

 

The best advice, however, whether you are a serious athlete or not, is to contact your dentist for regular check-up appointments.  If we do spot any potential problem we can tend to it immediately before it develops into serious tooth decay or a gum disease problem.  

If you would like to arrange a check-up appointment then please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are currently offering all new patients a FREE CONSULTATION.  You can call us on 0161 951 7295 or you can contact us by using the online booking form on our Appointments page.

 

Tooth Decay