Studies Show Two Fifths of Athletes Feel Concerned About Their Oral Health


Athletes are tested regularly on all other aspects of health; however, oral health is frequently pushed to the side-lines. Top athletes typically consume high quantities of sugar in their diets, consisting mainly of energy drinks and snacks; therefore, they are more vulnerable to oral diseases.

A Sunstar study unveiled that 28% of athletes think their quality of life has been impacted by inadequate oral hygiene.

“28% of athletes think their quality of life has been impacted by inadequate oral hygiene“

The Sunstar study shows 40% (of the 302 athletes asked) feel “bothered by their oral health”, with over half having dental cavities, 45% experiencing dental erosion, and 76% have periodontal disease.

Oral health can significantly negatively influence the quality of life and general wellbeing, which has knock-on effects on an athlete’s performance. The body may even experience inflammation and infections as a result of gum disease and cavities. If they are suffering from infection or painful dental conditions, the chance of performing badly or forfeiting the competition is much higher. However, this negative impact can be significantly reduced by making simple oral health improvements.

University College London conducted a study where participants had considerable rates of oral disease, including tooth decay and gum inflammation.

Influential author, Dr Julie Gallagher deduced, “poor oral health of elite athletes is common, and we associate it with negative performance. However, compared with other health and training pressures, oral health care is not a high priority in elite sport. We, therefore, wanted to develop a programme which was aligned with the existing high-performance culture of the athletes and their teams.”

The senior manager of scientific affairs at Sunstar, Dr Marzia Massignani, declares: “We are striving to raise awareness of the importance of good oral hygiene to athletes and to their overall performance. With a whole line-up of sports this summer, it’s another good opportunity to get this message across. So that not only do more top athletes understand this performance link, but sportspeople worldwide do as well.”

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