- The project wants to draw attention to the relationship between oral health and sports performance and make oral care a priority for both professional and amateur athletes.
- A survey carried out on 399 athletes during the 2012 Olympic Games found out that 55.1% of them had dental caries, 44.6% suffered dental erosion, 76% had periodontal disease, and more than 40% of athletes reported being ‘bothered’ by their oral health.
- Under the ‘Sports & Dentistry’ project, there are four guidelines available, and each one targets to a specific public: amateur athletes, professional athletes, dentists and sports physicians, and sports organisations (Download the guidelines here).
Etoy, Switzerland, 7th of July 2019.- Sunstar partners with the World Dental Federation (FDI) to launch the ‘Sports & Dentistry’ guidelines. The project wants to draw attention to the relationship between oral health and sports performance and make oral care a priority for both professional and amateur athletes.
A healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body and vice-versa. Therefore, poor oral health can impact on your general health and worsen your performance, eventually. In turn, being engaged in some competition may also impact negatively on your oral health since many dental problems are associated with sports and exercise. Surprisingly, oral care is not a priority for athletes, and their medical teams and, therefore, the oral condition of many sports professionals is shockingly poor.
According to a survey carried out on 399 athletes during the 2012 Olympic Games found out that 55.1% of them had dental caries, 44.6% suffered dental erosion, and the 76% had periodontal disease. Most importantly, more than 40% of athletes reported being ‘bothered’ by their oral health: 28% reported an impact on the quality of life and 18% on training and performance
According to many experts, the main reason why oral health in athletes is poor could be directly linked with their lifestyle: the intensive training and extreme conditions athletes push their bodies through, or the high intake of calories athletes need to take, usually provided by sports drinks with high added sugar content, are among the leading causes. Also, most of the athletes experience dry mouth, which is a perfect condition for bacteria to grow.
Under the ‘Sports & Dentistry’ project, there are four guidelines available, and each one targets to a specific public: amateur athletes, professional athletes, dentists and sports physicians, and sports organisations. All of them emphasise the causes and consequences poor oral health has on sports performance and include some recommendations to improve not only the oral condition but the overall well-being. Hence, this project highlights the basic oral care recommendations of the FDI for athletes – brushing the teeth twice a day, interdental brushing and mouthwash, and dental check-up twice a year – as well as diet recommendations to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The ultimate goal is to spread the message that oral care matters. Whether you’re a professional football player or out for a Sunday morning jog, your oral health impacts your performance. As Dr Marzia Massignani, Sr Manager Scientific Affairs and Corporate Communications at Sunstar, says, “Every day more and more people are engaging in sports, and it is essential to make oral care a priority if their goal is to be healthy in body and mind. Indeed, this is a huge opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene and the moment to start applying a holistic approach to health”.
For over 30 years, Sunstar has been contributing to research and raising awareness about the two-way relationship between oral health and general health. Under #ThePerioLink project, SUNSTAR gives visibility to the connection between the inflammation in the mouth caused by gum disease (gingivitis in its mild form and periodontitis in its severe form) and the inflammation in the whole body. This link has been widely studied, reporting associations between poor oral health and other diseases such as diabetes. As a result, when oral health is improved, there is a positive influence on the overall health and well-being. The company supports several projects that raise awareness about the many impacts of poor oral health in the body and encourages the population to take care of themselves holistically.