Survey: Poor Oral Health Among Olympians
Last updated on: October 02, 2013 11:29 AM
Olympic athletes train long and hard to achieve peak performance. But a new study indicates training should include regular dental check-ups. More than 300 athletes at the 2012 London Olympics took part in a survey on oral health. They represented 25 sports, with most competing in track and field.
Ian Needleman, who led the research, said, “We put together a hypothesis that since oral health can affect quality of life it could have an impact on their training and performance. And that's really what led to this research.”
Needleman is professor of restorative dentistry and evidence-based health care at the University College London Eastman Dental Institute.
“What we did for the day to day research was to carry out a detailed examination of the oral health of athletes. And these were athletes participating in the games that came along to the dental clinic. And the dental clinic is part of a major medical facility that’s always available in the Olympic village to games’ participants,” he said.
Athletes underwent examinations of their mouths, teeth and gums.
“We found a lot of tooth decay, which was surprising. More than half of athletes had tooth decay. And for a lot of them it wasn’t just one tooth. It was many teeth. But apart from that, lots of other issues – gum disease, which was really present in a lot of the athletes. Dental erosion, which is teeth wearing away due to acidic food and drinks. And trauma – damage which you might expect from some sports, which involve contact or risk of trauma,” he said.
Needleman said that the oral problems are surprising, given the fact that many athletes are only in their teens and 20’s.
“They’re a young group. They are otherwise very well supported medically – very health aware and training aware. But for some reason oral health doesn’t seem to have got onto the radar.”
Researchers also collected a lot of anecdotal evidence about how poor oral health affected competitors.
“It might have been pain preventing them training. And then one young guy telling us that he really hadn’t been able to train properly for a year, which is an extraordinary condition to be in. And clearly, if his training was affected then performance would be. We know very well that oral health problems can affected people’s confidence. People, for instance, who have frequently bleeding gums, often feel a bit embarrassed about that – less confident about being with others. And sport performance is to a great extent related to confidence,” he said.
Problems were found even among U.S. athletes, despite the wide availability of dental care in the country.
Needleman said there’s also growing evidence that infection or inflammation in the mouth can adversely affect the rest of the body. For example, inflammation may increase risk of injury and the ability to heal.
He added that the survey results for elite athletes may shed light on the oral health of the general populations of their home countries.
“What it suggests is that some of the challenges to oral health [experienced by] these athletes will exist in the general population. And not surprisingly there is also a very strong effect of social and economic status. So, these things are not equally distributed in populations.”
More research will be conducted to develop better ways to prevent oral problems in athletes. It’s known that frequent carbohydrate intake, possibly from sports drinks, may contribute to the problems. Also, intense training could weaken immune system response to infection.
Needleman said many teams have contacted him about the research.
dental (a) 牙齒的；牙科的XXXXX *相關字有：dentist 牙醫；dentistry 牙科醫學
track and field (n phr) 田徑項目
put together (v phr) 整理(出論點或看法)
restorative (a) 恢復健康的；(醫療)重建的
新聞中的 “restorative dentistry” 對照台灣的醫科名稱是「贋復牙科」。依照 wikipedia 對 restorative dentistry 的解釋，此科包含了 endodontics 「牙髓學(根管治療)」、periodontics 「牙周病學」、prosthodontics 「假牙修復學」。
為求頂尖表現 (peak performance)，奧運選手經過長時間、努力的訓練，但最新的研究指出，或許訓練過程中也應包含定期的牙齒檢查 (dental check-ups)。 2012 倫敦奧運共有超過 300 名選手參加了針對口腔健康的調查 (survey on oral health)。他們來自 25 種運動項目，但大多是田徑項目 (track and field) 的選手。
Ian Needleman 是這個研究的主持人，他說「我們整理出一個假設 (put together a hypothesis)，因為口腔健康會影響生活品質，理當對選手的訓練和表現有影響 (have an impact on . . .)。」Needleman是贋復牙科學 (restorative dentistry) 和實證 (evidence-based) 健康照護學的教授。
facility (n) 設備，射施
gum (n) 牙齦XXXXX*gum做「牙齦」解時，常用複數，可見新聞中用法；gum另外一常用意思是「口香糖」，這時是不可數名詞
decay (n) 腐朽，腐爛
erosion (n) 侵蝕；腐蝕
trauma (n) 創傷XXXXX*trauma 也常用來指「情感上的創傷」，但這新聞中是指「外傷」，同 injury
運動員們接受檢查的有口腔、牙齒、牙齦 (gums)，驚人的發現是有過半數人都有蛀牙 (tooth decay)，而且大多不只一顆蛀牙。除此之外 (apart from that)，還發現很多問題 (issue)，大多運動員都有牙周病 (gum disease; 編按：牙周病另一個說法是 periodontal disease)，還有因酸性 (acidic) 食物和飲料造成牙齒損壞 (wear away) 和導致牙齒侵蝕 (dental erosion)，其它還有一些有肢體接觸 (contact) 和容易外傷的運動所造成的創傷 (trauma)。
anecdotal (a) 軼事的，趣聞的
inflammation (n) 炎症；發炎
shed light on (v phr) 闡明，解釋清楚
intense (a) 強烈的，劇烈的
依照 Needleman 的看法，有越來越多的證據 (growing evidence) 指出，口腔內的感染或發炎 (infection or inflammation) 可能對全身造成負面 (adversely) 影響。此外，他認為，這些運動員精英 (elite) 的調查結果或許也能說明 (shed light on . . .)他們母國 (home country) 一般大眾 (the general population) 的口腔健康狀況。
運動員的口腔健康問題還有更多研究要做，但已經知道的是，運動員的口腔問題可以歸因於經常 (frequent) 性的，大多來自運動機能飲料 (sports drinks) 的，碳水化合物攝取 (carbohydrate intake)。另一可能的原因是高強度的訓練 (intense training) 弱化了對感染的免疫系統反應 (immune system response)
Check your vocabulary!
Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.
1.The offender was sent to a correctional facility.
2. His findings are based on anecdotal evidence rather than serious research.
3. When was your last dental check-up?
4. Recent research has shed light on the causes of the disease.
5. Soil erosion by rain and wind is a serious problem here.
6. It took all morning to put together the proposal.