Do you work out or play sports?
Tell your dentist!

What do footballers Rashford, Sterling, Chilwell, Henderson, Mount & Grealish all have in common?

Yes, they’re all currently in the process of finally bringing it home for England, but more importantly they share the same dentist and today we’re explaining why that’s more important than you might expect.

Athletes are high risk for cavities

Following the 2012 Olympics, extensive surveys of the athletes showed that even though they appeared physically fit, their oral health was poor and could be impacting their results. Here are some key results from the 2012 Olympic athletes survey:

40% were unhappy with their dental health

30% said it resulted in a loss of quality of life

20% felt it negatively impacted their training and performance

It turns out that many of the damaging factors for their oral health could have been avoided if they’d asked a dentist for advice.

Dental dangers of energy drinks & foods

Your local gym is probably stacked with power bars, sport gels & energy drinks, not to mention whey protein powders for the heavy-lifters. What they don’t tell you is that these products are typically laced with sugar. They’ll give you a boost and the drinks can deliver electrolytes for fast rehydration but the sugar will stick to your teeth and rapidly increase your cavity risk.

Creatine supplements & gum disease

Another potential culprit is creatine. We all know it can be a powerful tool for athletes looking to pack on muscle but unused creatine can sit in the system and put considerable strain on your kidneys. Alongside other side effects like a reduced immune system, you could also find yourself suffering from bleeding gums and mouth ulcers as a result.

Impact sports

A 2014 sports dentistry review found that up to 39% of dental injuries are sustained while playing sports and most of these could have been avoided by wearing a proper mouth guard. While you can pick up a “boil and bite” guard at most sporting stores, you should really consider a custom mouth guard from your dentist to ensure you can breathe easily and speak to your teammates without fear of the guard falling out at awkward times. This goes double for combat or stick sports! Your dentist can prescribe multi-layered or hardened guards to protect your key risk areas.

When to speak to your dentist

Despite how scary it sounds, the impact of exercise and nutritional supplements on your oral health is something to be managed, not frightened of. That’s why so many top athletes are developing close relationships with their dentists. Whether you’re playing sports at an elite level or just going for the occasional jog/gym sesh, you should tell your dentist about your exercise routine and any related nutrition plans you follow. Their advice could help you counteract damage from energy supplements, protect against impact trauma or help spot tell-tale signs that your supplement regime is not quite right.

Bringing it home

As we write this, we’re still riding the buzz after Southgate’s men secured their first major cup final in 55 years and keeping our fingers crossed for an England win on Sunday. But regardless of whether football comes home this year, the player’s dentists can pat themselves on the back for helping them stay at peak performance without have to worry about their teeth!