Today (5 June 2015) marks the start of the Southeast Asian Games, which returns to Singapore after a 22-year long hiatus. 36 sports and 402 events will be featured and participated by 11 countries and over 4,000 athletes.
As Specialist Dental Group cheers on the participating athletes, we would like to highlight the role one’s oral health plays in achieving optimum performance, especially in the case of professional athletes.
Professional athletes generally win or lose by a very small difference. Therefore, any marginal improvement in their condition could enhance performance. This is supported by a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which found that 18% of the athletes surveyed mentioned that their oral health affected their training and performance for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Hence, a simple strategy that increases the chance of winning gold medals which requires minimal time and effort is caring of one’s oral health.
Here are some tips for professional and budding athletes to take note:
- Better brushing techniques
Brush gently in a circular motion and cover every surface of your teeth. This should be done at least twice a day for two minutes each, using a thin strip of fluoride toothpaste. Do not brush your teeth within an hour of eating as acids in many types of food can soften your enamel and wear it away when brushing.
- Regular flossing
In order to prevent plaque from building up, floss daily to clean the areas where bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach.
- Regular checks with your dentist
As tartar (hardened dental plaque) cannot be removed by brushing or flossing, it is crucial to have professional cleanings done by your dentist once every six months. During then, your dentist would examine your teeth, gum, tongue etc. and advise on the possible treatment required.
- Stay hydrated with better alternatives
Tooth decay and gum disease is caused by acid-producing bacteria in your mouth that feast on carbohydrates (sugar and starch). Therefore, instead of consuming sport drinks that contain large amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners, stay hydrated with healthier choices like coconut water, water with a pinch of natural, unprocessed salt or water with a splash of lemon/lime juice.
Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health. We encourage everyone, especially athletes, to take active steps to maintain good oral health for better performance. You may be surprised to note that a small investment of time and effort would go a long way.
Specialist Dental Group would like to wish the very best of luck to all the athletes participating in the 28th SEA Games. May you all have a fantastic time at the Games, achieve your best and have an experience of a lifetime!