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    June 2014 newsletter
 
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New research highlights the oral health challenges of athletes



The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were plagued by health problems, but not the problems you might expect. Many athletes experienced oral health problems, some severe enough to inhibit their athletic performances. The most dramatic example was Alan Campbell, a British athlete who suffered an oral infection that spread to his back, shoulder, and eventually his knee, costing him weeks of training and requiring surgery shortly before competition.

Due to the volume and severity of such problems, the International Olympic Committee requested studies on the oral health of athletes, and the results were alarming. Four out of ten reported being bothered by dental problems, and nearly half of those people believed the condition negatively impacted their performance. Researchers theorize that several factors were to blame, including acidic sports drinks, saliva reduction from dehydration, and a tendency to skip brushing or flossing. Every athlete from weekend warriors to Olympians may be exposed to these risks to some degree. Even for non-athletes, this serves as a reminder of the importance of hygiene and dental care, and the extent to which oral disease can affect one’s life.

Is red wine good for your oral health?

If you care about the appearance of your smile, you probably know that red wine is among the worst offenders when it comes to staining. However, research suggests that the health benefits could be well worth slightly more frequent whitening treatments. In a recent study, researchers discovered the red wine, even if it is non-alcoholic, may inhibit the development of biofilm, which you know as harmful plaque.

Previous research has demonstrated a link between red wine consumption and improved heart health. Of course, these benefits are limited, so wine cannot replace a healthy lifestyle including good oral hygiene and regular dental care. However, it can certainly make an excellent adjunct.


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