Oral Health and Sports Performance

To achieve a high level of physical performance is essential to have good oral health, as oral problems directly or indirectly affect athletes, especially those who train every day. The aesthetic aspect is also important to improve self-esteem especially in people who practice Olympic gymnastics. The oral affections that most frequently interfere with athletic performance are infections and malocclusion.

In the first case, poor oral hygiene causes the bacteria in the oral cavity to accumulate and produce cavities or periodontal disease, that is, an inflammation of the gums and the tissues surrounding the teeth. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread to other distant organs, including the heart, stomach, liver and musculoskeletal system.

Microorganisms present in infectious foci produce chemical substances such as prostaglandins and prostacyclines, which accumulate can injure muscles, tendons, bones and joints, and produce joint pain, loss of muscle tone, fatigue, fatigue, and a low level of response.

On the other hand, malocclusion due to the absence, misalignment, or poor condition of some teeth can cause balance problems due to overload in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which joins the skull with the jaw. Bruxism, which consists of clenching the teeth or making them grind unconsciously, is responsible for many cases of pain in the muscles of the neck and back. The lack of pieces can also generate digestive problems, since when food is not comminuted in an adequate way there is a higher energy consumption, digestion is slower and nutritional deficiencies are produced.

Sports dentistry studies the influence of oral health in sports and makes its practice safer. Usually, people do not think that oral problems can be the cause of their discomfort. It is very important that coaches, physiotherapists and athletes are aware of this.

When an individual has a bad posture or presents other symptoms, a dental check should be done in order to detect the presence of caries, malocclusion or other conditions to rule out that the problem is of oral origin and solve it, either by treating caries and periodontal disease, replacement of missing parts with prostheses or implants, orthodontic treatment for malocclusion, or the use of night splints or guards when necessary.

As a preventive measure, proper oral hygiene is recommended; chewing gum with Xytilol, and the realization of a biomedical control before participating in competitions. In sports in which there is physical contact, such as boxing, basketball, soccer, etc., it is advisable to use mouth guards to prevent trauma injuries and avoid dental fractures and avulsions. People who breathe through the mouth due to obstruction of the airways require respiratory training.