A study carried out by researchers at UCL has found that the energy drinks and gels used by athletes to fuel their workouts are causing high rates of tooth decay.
The study comes after the revelation that a large number of high-level competitors suffer from poor oral and dental health problems. Half of elite UK athletes have signs of tooth decay, compared to a third of adults the same age in the general population.
352 elite athletes were surveyed about how often they brushed and flossed, the amount of sugar they consumed, if they smoked, chewed gum and how often they visited the dentist. It was discovered that whilst they practiced better oral hygiene than the average person, and were less likely to be smokers, they suffered from a substantial amount of dental problems. The results were attributed to sugary supplements, with 87% of those surveyed regularly consuming sports drinks and 70% using energy gels.
The high levels of sugar in products such as energy gels and drinks have been found to be the principal reason for the high levels of tooth decay suffered by athletes, despite them practicing health dental health habits.
The importance of diet and dental health
This study by UCL reveals that diet is an indispensable component in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Even the most rigorous of brushing routines and making the effort to floss regularly will not cancel out the negative effects of consuming high levels of sugar. Your dentist and hygienist can help you making wise food choices when it comes to your teeth if you are unsure. If you are a keen sportsperson, consuming energy drinks through a straw will prevent contact with your teeth and still allow you to reap the benefits when you are taking part in your particular sport.
Energy drinks should be consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. If you need advice on how to strike the right equilibrium with your diet, take a look at the NHS’s advice by clicking here.
If you would like more information about hygienist and dental check-ups, please do not hesitate to contact us today here in St Albans.