Olympic athletes will be able to access free dental treatment during while staying at the London 2012 Olympic village – for many, this will mean access to treatments and surgeries they might not be able to receive in their home countries – such as root canals or fillings – while being in the dentist’s chair is probably not the way most would imagine spending their time at the Olympic Games, for some it will be a life-changing opportunity to access some of the best health care in the world.
Luckily for elite athletes though, they have a head start on oral hygiene – it’s been proven that exercise has a positive impact on the health of your mouth: a Saudi study in 2005 found that participants who exercised vigorously three or more times a week had a 50% reduction in the risk of periodontitis (a disease which affects the bones and ligaments supporting the teeth), when compared to those who did no exercise at all. People who exercised moderately were found to have a 33% reduction in risk.
Exercising also helps people avoid other risk factors such as diabetes – which puts you at higher risk of losing teeth and developing gum disease. Recent research has also found a link between poor dental health and heart and lung disease.
“It should be motivating to know that maintaining a healthy mouth can go some way to maintain a healthy body,” says Dr Glafcos Tombolis of Ethicare Dental. “Effective removal of bacterial plaque through brushing, flossing and regular hygiene visits are not only about keeping your teeth anymore.”
Five tips for improving dental health
· Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day
· Floss daily
· Exercise regularly
· Visit the dentist regularly
· Avoid fizzy drinks that erode the enamel on your teeth (or drink through a straw)
A quick fitness tip you can do every day
Brushing your teeth while standing on one foot is a great way to improve your dental health and fitness at the same time. Try brushing for three minutes on one leg in the morning and then the other leg in the evening. Alternately you can try changing your standing leg every 30 seconds for similar effects. This simple activity will help your tighten your core muscle group and improve your balance which are essential to gaining a fit body.
Vivienne Egan is a content writer at social media agency, No Pork Pies.