What does athletic performance have to do with good oral health?

Oral health and athletic performance have a relationship that’s not difficult to fathom. Imagine how much a toothache could distract an elite athlete during an Olympic game. It’s tough enough to perform your best without health obstacles. Plus, good overall health and good oral health go hand in hand. Besides, it’s a known fact that top athletes work hard to stay healthy because their performance depends on it.

Ironically, many top athletes have high rates of oral disease — cavities and gum inflammation. We covered this fact in our blog “High Number of Dental Problems Among Top Athletes.”

A recent study implemented an oral hygiene program to help a group of leading athletes. The results were promising.

Research Study Showed Oral Health and Athletic Performance Improving

The UCL Centre for Oral Health and Performance at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute conducted a study reported in medicalxpress.com. The study introduced a behavioral change program. The program educated athletes and improved their dental health routines.

Even though poor performance was associated with poor oral health, improving oral health didn’t receive high priority. Other regimens and pressures got more attention. Therefore, the program incorporated health behavior psychology. Self-motivation, goal-setting, and easy-to-use toolkits gave athletes the chance to improve.

A total of 62 athletes participated in the study. They watched a 10-minute motivational video presentation and three 90-second informational films. The films focused on improving knowledge and behavioral skills for oral health. Athletes received screenings for tooth decay and gum inflammation at the start of the study. They brushed their teeth twice a day for two minutes. They brushed in the morning and before bed using prescription fluoride toothpaste.

Study Results

The questionnaire at the end of the study measured the following:

  • Sports participation
  • Training volume
  • Sporting performance
  • Extent of oral pain experienced

The questionnaire showed scores reduced from 8.73 (out of 100) to 2.73. This was a significant reduction in problems where oral health was related to athletic performance.

Concerned about Your Dental Health?

Give us a call at Hutto Hippo Family Dental and make an appointment. We are glad to answer your questions. Our number is (512) 806-7740.