Health

Elite athletes have poor oral health despite brushing twice daily

Elite athletes have high rates of oral disease despite brushing their teeth more frequently than most people, finds a new UCL study.

The findings, published in the British Dental Journal, highlight potential for improvement as most of the athletes expressed an interest in changing their oral hygiene behaviour to improve their oral health.

The UCL Eastman Dental Institute research team surveyed 352 Olympic and professional athletes across 11 sports, including cycling, swimming, rugby, football, rowing, hockey, sailing and athletics, when they provided dental check-ups for male and female athletes measuring tooth decay, gum health and acid erosion.

The researchers also asked athletes what they did to keep their mouth, teeth and gums healthy.

The dental check-ups revealed substantial amounts of oral disease as reported in a 2018 paper, finding that nearly half (49.1%) had untreated tooth decay, the large majority showed early signs of gum inflammation, and almost a third (32%) reported that their oral health had a negative impact on their training and performance.

Elite athletes have poor oral health despite their efforts to care for their teeth: this new study found that 94% reported brushing their teeth at least twice a day, and 44% reported regularly cleaning between their teeth (flossing) — substantially higher figures than for the general population (75% for twice-daily brushing and 21% for flossing).

The researchers found that the athletes regularly use sports drinks (87%), energy bars (59%) and energy gels (70%), which are known to damage teeth.

“We found that a majority of the athletes in our survey already have good oral health related habits in as much as they brush their teeth twice a day, visit the dentist regularly, don’t smoke and have a healthy general diet,” said researcher Dr Julie Gallagher (UCL Eastman Dental Institute Centre for Oral Health and Performance).

“However, they use sports drinks, energy gels and bars frequently during training and competition; the sugar in these products increases the risk of tooth decay and the acidity of them increases the risk of erosion. This could be contributing to the high levels of tooth decay and acid erosion we saw during the dental check-ups.”

The study builds on research carried out by the Centre since the London 2012 Olympics, led by Professor Ian Needleman. Previous findings have suggested that elite athletes may also face an elevated risk of oral disease from a dry mouth during intensive training.

Encouragingly, the surveyed athletes said they would consider adopting even better oral hygiene habits to tackle this and an intervention study has already been piloted.

Dr Gallagher said: “Athletes were willing to consider behaviour changes such as additional fluoride use from mouthwash, more frequent dental visits, and reducing their intake of sports drinks, to improve oral health.”

“We subsequently asked some of them and support team members to help us design an oral health intervention study, based on contemporary behaviour change theory and we will publish the results soon.”

Oral

Ancient ‘chewing gum’ yields insights into people and bacteria of the past

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in extracting a complete human genome from a thousands-of-years old “chewing gum.” According to the researchers, it is a new untapped source of ancient DNA.

During excavations on Lolland, archaeologists have found a 5,700-year-old type of “chewing gum” made from birch pitch. In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen succeeded in extracting a complete ancient human genome from the pitch.

It is the first time that an entire ancient human genome has been extracted from anything other than human bones. The new research results have been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

‘It is amazing to have gotten a complete ancient human genome from anything other than bone,” says Associate Professor Hannes Schroeder from the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, who led the research.

‘What is more, we also retrieved DNA from oral microbes and several important human pathogens, which makes this a very valuable source of ancient DNA, especially for time periods where we have no human remains,’ Hannes Schroeder adds.

Based on the ancient human genome, the researchers could tell that the birch pitch was chewed by a female. She was genetically more closely related to hunter-gatherers from the mainland Europe than to those who lived in central Scandinavia at the time. They also found that she probably had dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes.

Sealed in mud

The birch pitch was found during archaeological excavations at Syltholm, east of Rødbyhavn in southern Denmark. The excavations are being carried out by the Museum Lolland-Falster in connection with the construction of the Fehmarn tunnel.

‘Syltholm is completely unique. Almost everything is sealed in mud, which means that the preservation of organic remains is absolutely phenomenal,’ says Theis Jensen, Postdoc at the Globe Institute, who worked on the study for his PhD and also participated in the excavations at Syltholm.

‘It is the biggest Stone Age site in Denmark and the archaeological finds suggest that the people who occupied the site were heavily exploiting wild resources well into the Neolithic, which is the period when farming and domesticated animals were first introduced into southern Scandinavia,’ Theis Jensen adds.

This is reflected in the DNA results, as the researchers also identified traces of plant and animal DNA in the pitch — specifically hazelnuts and duck — which may have been part of the individual’s diet.

Bacterial evolution

In addition, the researchers succeeded in extracting DNA from several oral microbiota from the pitch, including many commensal species and opportunistic pathogens.

‘The preservation is incredibly good, and we managed to extract many different bacterial species that are characteristic of an oral microbiome. Our ancestors lived in a different environment and had a different lifestyle and diet, and it is therefore interesting to find out how this is reflected in their microbiome,’ says Hannes Schroeder.

The researchers also found DNA that could be assigned to Epstein-Barr Virus, which is known to cause infectious mononucleosis or glandular fever. According to Hannes Schroeder, ancient “chewing gums” bear great potential in researching the composition of our ancestral microbiome and the evolution of important human pathogens.

‘It can help us understand how pathogens have evolved and spread over time, and what makes them particularly virulent in a given environment. At the same time, it may help predict how a pathogen will behave in the future, and how it might be contained or eradicated,’ says Hannes Schroeder.

Chewing gum, all-purpose glue or medicine?

  • Birch pitch is a black-brown substance that is produced by heating birch bark. It was commonly used in prehistory for hafting stone tools as an all-purpose glue. The earliest known use of birch pitch dates back to the Palaeolithic.
  • Pieces of birch pitch are often found with tooth imprints suggesting that they were chewed. As the pitch solidifies on cooling, it has been suggested that it was chewed to make it malleable again before using it for hafting etc.
  • Other uses for birch pitch have also been suggested. For example, one theory suggests that birch pitch could have been used to relieve toothache or other ailments as it is mildly antiseptic. Other theories suggest, people may have used it as a kind of prehistoric tooth brush, to suppress hunger, or just for fun as a chewing gum.
Teeth

Dental Hygiene for Children

As grown-ups, we realize that our teeth require consistent care. A strong oral cleanliness normal and expert dental care are both imperative. Be that as it may, the same is valid for a kid’s first teeth, despite the fact that they are in the end lost to clear a path for the lasting teeth. Truth be told, the disregard of a kid’s drain teeth and general oralTo link your Facebook and Twitter accounts, open the Instagram app on your phone or tablet, and select the Profile tab in the bottom-right corner of the screen. In the top-right corner of the profile screen, tap the gear icon on the iOS or Windows Phone version of the Instagram app

Dr. Bertisch will present “Understanding the Role of Non-Pharmacologic Treatments in Insomnia” at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds at Brigham and Women’s HospitalPaul Farmer

His may be a sign that you have a clinical sleep problem, such as insomnia disorder or sleep apnea. If you are doing all the right things and practicing good sleep hygiene, and still have trouble falling or staying asleep, you may need to see a sleep specialist.

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Sometimes there are factors that impact our sleep that we can’t control. If you work shifts, strategies such as taking naps before evening shifts, and minimizing light exposure when coming off evening shifts and planning to sleep, may help.