By now, patients of Southwest Portland dentist Dr. Beadnell should understand the importance of practicing quality oral hygiene on a daily basis. Brushing and flossing help to remove harmful bacteria from the mouth that can lead to a number of chronic health problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease. So while good oral hygiene can go a long way towards protecting the health of your teeth and gums, a new study suggests that it could also potentially improve performance.
According to researchers, good oral health could help elite athletes perform better. During a presentation at London’s Oral Health and Performance in Sport conference, researchers spoke about how good oral health could improve athletes’ performance because oral issues can negatively impact their ability to train and perform at peak levels.
Researchers believe that quality oral health could make the difference between winning and losing, as a large number of sporting victories and achievements come down to incredibly small margins.
Doctors and dentist working with Britain’s national boxing team have already started testing different measures designed to improve their athletes’ oral health. Doctors from the English Institute of Sport that have worked with the national boxing team have noticed for years that team members suffering from oral health problems experience a decline in their training and performance. Team doctors now require boxers to undergo regular checkups, and have seen a noticeable impact.
A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that 20 percent of athletes who participated in the 2012 London Olympic Games reported that oral health issues had negatively impacted their training for the games and caused them to perform worse in competition.
As part of their presentation, researchers at the conference explained that tooth pain and swollen gums could interrupt training and cause disruptions in sleep schedules. Studies have also found that gum disease increases an individual’s risk of developing chronic health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
While researchers are not suggesting that a quality oral hygiene routine will propel a casual runner into an Olympic sprinter, evidence does suggest that elite athlete could perform better when not dealing with oral health problems.
Oral Health in Daily Life
If poor health can negatively impact those performing on the biggest stages, how could it negatively impact performance in our day-to-day lives?
If you suffer from chronic oral health problems like frequent toothaches, sore or swollen gums or a bad bite, your condition is probably negatively impacting your life in ways you may not even realize.
Trouble chewing could cause you to avoid eating enough calories a day, so you often feel sluggish or tired. Constant toothaches can make you feel irritable and distract you from working. Bleeding gums are a symptom of gum disease, which – when left untreated – can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer.
To avoid these kind of daily annoyances, it becomes important that every patient of Dr. Beadnell practice quality oral hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time and flossing once a day. By making this commitment to your oral health, you can avoid the kind of aches and pains that can drain your productivity and performance.