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13 April 2014

Good teeth may help sporting success

mo-farahDentists say elite athletes could stand a better chance of winning gold medals if they look after their teeth.

The Oral Health and Performance in Sport conference in London heard that athletes’ oral health was often bad and could impair training and performance.

At the pinnacle of elite sport, the difference between winning and losing is tiny, so even marginal improvements can make a crucial difference.

Doctors for Team GB‘s boxing squad are already trying to improve oral health.

Disruptive
A study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed a fifth of athletes said their oral health damaged their training and performance for the Games.

At the conference, dentists said tooth pain could disrupt sleep and training and that inflammation of the gums could affect the rest of the body, impairing performance.

It is not unusual for poor oral health to have wider effects. The NHS says it is linked to type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

A regular floss, a bottle of mouthwash and good brushing technique are not going to transform a weekend jogger into an Olympian.

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