If you love your sports or even if you just enjoy a morning run in the park, maintaining your dental health can have a positive impact on your athletic performance.
Research increasingly indicates a link between oral health and your overall health. Therefore if your overall well-being is worse due to poor oral health, then the level you are able to perform at in your chosen sport will also decline. By maintaining a good oral care routine, including regular dental check-ups, you will not only have healthier teeth and gums, but help maintain a stronger body too.
Oral health problems are linked to an increased risk of inflammation elsewhere in the body and chronic inflammation can lead to serious health issues. Oral issues such as gum disease and tooth decay result in inflammation in the body and also helps to maintain it.
For the athletic-minded this makes recovery from any sporting session harder, making it tougher to achieve maximum potential in their sporting pursuit. Any impact on sporting performance knocks self-confidence in our ability and adds to the potential for a decline in results.
Athletes are already susceptible to a risk of increased oral health issues while they perform and become dehydrated. This dehydration can lead to a condition known as dry mouth where a lack of saliva is produced.
Saliva is one of our natural protectors against the buildup of bacteria and plaque in the oral cavity and therefore if less is produced we become more at risk of cavities and gum disease. Those with existing oral health issues who participate in an athletic sport will also be at an increased risk of chipping, cracking or losing already weakened teeth through an impact injury. To help protect against this your dentist may recommend wearing a custom-made mouthguard.
Maintaining a healthy smile is not about vanity, it is about maintaining bodily health. Poor dental health can lead to issues elsewhere in the body and impact on overall quality of life.
This is bound to have both a physical and psychological impact on anyone trying to maximise their athletic ability in whichever discipline they take part in. It is also best to avoid sugary sports drinks and snacks where possible and not to get too stressed about your performance, as this can lead to harmful teeth grinding.
Good dental health and exercise can work together to promote good overall health.