Want to win gold at the Olympics? You need talent, training and good teeth.
This is my short article about why flossing is so vital to Olympic glory…First published in CSIRO’s Double Helix magazine.
GOLD MEDAL TEETH
By Cristy Burne
It’s hard to break Olympic records when you’re suffering from toothache.
But nearly one in five Olympians at the London 2012 Games said poor oral health had impacted their performance, and only half of them had been for a dental check-up in the last 12 months.
Professor Ian Needleman surveyed 302 of London’s Olympic athletes, finding 55% of them had tooth decay, more than 75% had early stage gum disease, and 15% showed signs of periodontitis, an irreversible gum infection.
Ian says that while many elite athletes have access to the best of everything—personal coaches, specialty diets and computer-enhanced training—they’re missing out when it comes to one virtually free and entirely legal performance enhancer: It’s called brushing your teeth. Closely followed by flossing.
“The oral conditions that can affect performance are all easily preventable,” Ian says.
“Things like better tooth brushing techniques and higher fluoride toothpastes could prevent the toothache and associated sleeping and training difficulties that can make the crucial difference between gold and silver.”
Ian says elite athletes need to spend extra time on their teeth since heavy training schedules mean that many rely on acidic, sugary drinks and regular high-energy snacks.
—-> So what are you waiting for? Go brush! And check next month’s Helix mag for more great tips on keeping your toothy pegs sparkling.