As your dentist in Newcastle, we here at Newcastle Dental enjoy staying on top of the trends dominating discussions in our profession. This means staying on top of current research, and of late, there have been some interesting findings. One, published in the Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology journal, caught our eye recently.
A British study took a long look at a number of high-performance athletes around the world, and its findings were striking: among these athletes, a solid 49 percent exhibited undiagnosed dental decay. A round 77 percent were suffering from inflamed gums, a known harbinger of gum disease. For a subset of the population whose fitness levels could otherwise be described as ‘exceptional’, this came as somewhat of a shock.
A number of reasons for this trend have subsequently been speculated upon. Some have commented that the amount of carbohydrates that are consumed by these athletes could contribute to their dental woes, as carbs tend to coat the teeth, and as they break down in to sugars, produce enamel-killing acids. Others have pointed out the prevalence of sugary rehydration drinks.
Still others have taken note of the intense training regimen attached to many of these sports, especially running and cycling. Most of these participants will exercise with their mouths open, leading to a relatively dry mouth. Saliva serves an important purpose in the mouth, by ‘rinsing’ the teeth of harmful elements. Others have noted that drier mouths tend to become more alkaline, which could aid in the growth of plaque.
The trend is not disputable, but the same cannot be said for the underlying reason. The research continues, and your dentist in Newcastle will keep you informed.