Sports dentistry is fast becoming recognised as a vital aspect of professional sport. Good oral health and hygiene is now starting to be seen as an essential part of an athlete’s overall health and wellbeing, which could also have a bearing on their performance.
The issue was first highlighted, on a larger scale, from the London 2012 Olympics, where an abundance of athletes demonstrated poor oral health. This became a hot topic for discussion which clearly needed addressing. Following this, a study was undertaken which investigated the overall dental and oral health of Olympic athletes, with revealed shocking results. Over 300 of the athletes in the study were found to have poor dental hygiene, an abundance of cavities and decay, tooth erosion and periodontal disease. This was seen to not only be impacting on their general health and quality of life, but also, potentially, on their performance.
Following this study, the UCL Eastman Centre for Oral Health and Performance, situated in London, was established to address the growing issue. As the centre has grown and developed, more networks have been set up to provide people with information on the subject of sports dentistry and for people who have an interest in getting into a career in the field.