Sport, periodontal disease and dental health

If we play sport, to control dental health, and, therefore, gum health, is at least as important as taking care of diet. Especially, if as top athletes, we aim to reach the maximum sport performance.

Even if it does not exist an extensive documentation on the subject, there is some growing evidence that gum health directly affects the productivity of the physical activity. And vice versa, the sport influences our dental health, and therefore, our gums.

Periodontal diseases

Let’s begin by analyzing what and which are the periodontal pathologies we are talking about and affect the sport performance.

Periodontal diseases are those that concern gums. They are very frequent. They are produced by the bacteria we have in the mouth and which can be transmitted from one person to another and by a genetic susceptibility to suffering the disease. When these bacteria are not correctly eliminated, they damage the gums causing an inflammation that moves destroying the teeth supporting bone and tissues, worsening the prognosis of the teeth.

Depending on the condition of the pathology, periodontal disease can be named either gingivitis or periodontitis. Gingivitis is a superficial and reversible medical chart if the necessary steps are taken. Periodontitis, nevertheless, is an evolutionary later phase that can eventually lead to tooth loss, having the capacity to cause, in addition, another type of systemic problems. That is to say, periodontal diseases, as long as they are infections that cause inflammation, affect gums and the rest of the body, generating an inflammatory condition that favors the development of health problems such as diabetes, coronary diseases, respiratory disorders or frequent muscular and articular disorders.

Periodontal disease’s influence on sports performance 

Once we have identified the periodontal diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis) that can affect our sport activity, let’s mention the periodontal health’s influence on sport. Periodontal diseases may facilitate:

  • The alteration of cardiovascular system.
  • The metabolic alteration of diabetes.
  • The affectation of respiratory function in people with chronic respiratory problems.

And how ould be all this chain of influence of the periodontal disease in our body translated? It is simple, in an alteration of our sport capacity. If the periodontal disease is not controlled, it could negatively affect our overall halth status and our physical capacity will, irremediably, be affected as well.

Sport practice’s influence on periodontal health

Deporte y salud dental: una mala oclusión puede provocar problemas de desequilibrio, tan importante en algunas disciplinas como el ballet

And how does the physical exercise influence our dental health? There exist diverse studies that indicate that people who regularly practise sport have lower risk of suffering inflammatory factors that propitiate the appearance of diseases such as periodontitis. Why? Because to practise sport improves the corporal response to stress and inflammation, and therefore, to peirodontal diseases.

Professional athletes: causes and effects of dental health

Even if a direct relation has not be proven, problems such as periodontal diseases and another type of dental pathologies in general are often associated to minimization of the sport performance:

  • Bad occlusion  balance default.
  • Jaw tension neck and back pain.
  • Dental infection → muscular overcharge and chronification of sport injuries.
  • Poor mastication → decrease of the energetic power.

Poor dental health among athletes 

A study carried out by a British group of investigators (Ashley and col. 2015), analyzed different groups of top athletes of different sports, reveals that top athletes dental health is poor:

  • The prevalence of traumatism is between 14% and 47%.
  • The dental acaries between 15% and 75%.
  • The dental erosion between 36% and 85 %.
  • The periodontitis is present among 15% of top athletes.

The same group of investigators (Needleman and col. 2013) carried out an evaluation of the oral health of 278 sportsmen and sportswomen during the Olympic Games of London, detecting that:

  • 55% had dental decay.
  • 45% dental erosion.
  • 76% gingivitis and 15% periodontitis.

So, if you play sports and you aim to achieve the maximum level of performance, take care of your oral health because it is more important than you have imagined. Do not wait and call us or make an appointment.

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