They may score big on the field, but “elite athletes” are fouling out in the dentist’s chair.
A new study finds that jocks have some of the worst oral-health rates, despite brushing their teeth more frequently than most people, according to the findings published in the British Dental Journal.
The research team recruited 352 Olympic and professional athletes in sports such as cycling, swimming, rugby, football and hockey. After scoring their checkup records, researchers investigated their tooth decay and gum health.
The results were alarming: Nearly half had untreated decay, and most of their gums were inflamed. Previous studies also found athletes suffer from gingivitis.
This was even though 94 percent said they brushed their teeth at least twice a day. About half also said they floss regularly, although, in fairness, we’ve all probably lied to the dentist about that one.
The reason? They think it may be because athletes eat more energy bars and gels and guzzle sugary sports drinks. All are known to cause tooth damage, the researchers noted.
“The sugar in these products increases the risk of tooth decay, and the acidity of them increases the risk of erosion,” said researcher Julie Gallagher in a statement.
Sometimes being at the top of your game can really bite.
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