The beaming smiles of gold-medal winners Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah are some of the defining memories of London 2012.
But a team at University College London says many competitors had dental problems.
“Our data and other studies suggest that, for a similar age profile, the oral health of athletes is poor. It’s quite striking,” said lead researcher Prof Ian Needleman.
He said eating large amounts of carbohydrates regularly, including sugary energy drinks, was damaging teeth.
Impaired immune system function associated with hard training may also play a role.
Many, if not most, high-level athletes think high carbohydrate consumption is necessary for optimal performance. They should know better than I. For their sake, I hope meticulous oral care—brushing, flossing, professional cleaning—helps preserve dental health.
Super athletes may not be as healthy as you think. They push their bodies so hard that they move beyond health into injury and chronic inflammation.