Oral health is key to a winning performance

Oral health is key to a winning performance



Studies prove that poor oral hygiene badly impacts training and athletic performance

Maintaining a healthy mouth should be an essential part of athletes’ training programmes

One important area of preparation will be key to overall performance during this summer of sports – our athletes’ oral health.


While this link still remains widely unknown both in and outside sports, studies prove that poor oral health badly impacts athletes training and performance.1,2 Yet while athletes are being constantly tested and monitored in all other aspects of their health, diet and performance, oral health is often neglected.


A pioneer in this area, international oral healthcare company Sunstar, with brands including GUM, Butler and Ora2, supported the original launch of the Sports Dentistry Guidelines with the World Dental Federation (FDI), and holds worldwide events on the theme.

In a study with 302 athletes, 40% of them reported being ‘bothered by their oral health, while 28% also reported an impact on the quality of life and 18% on their training and performance. The study also found that of the athletes, 55% had caries, 45% dental erosion and 76% had periodontal disease.1

Top athletes have a particularly high risk of developing oral diseases for a number of reasons: they require a lot of calories, which are often consumed throughout the day, for example, from sugary protein sports bars; the amount of fluid intake necessary for top performance is usually taken from sports drinks, which are mostly acidic and have a high sugar content; athletes’ intensive training leads to increased mouth breathing and reduced salivary flow, ideal conditions for bacteria to grow.

Sports-related stress is also an additional risk factor which can cause periodontal disease, erosion, caries, and bruxism. While in aquatic sports, erosion can be caused by a low PH in swimming pool water.

Dr. Marzia Massignani, PhD, Senior Manager Scientific Affairs at Sunstar, has participated in many FDI athletes and oral health events, and says: “We are striving to raise awareness of the importance of good oral hygiene to athletes and to their overall performance.


With a whole line-up of sports this summer, it’s another good opportunity to get this message across, so that not only do more top athletes understand this performance link, but sports people worldwide do as well.”



For a copy of the Sports Dentistry Guidelines with the FDI (World Dental Federation) supported by Sunstar follow the link:




1.Needleman I, Ashley P, Petrie A et al. Oral health and impact on performance of athletes participating in the London 2012 Olympic Games: a cross-sectional study. Brit J Sports Med. 2013;47(16):1054-1058.


2.Gallagher J, Ashley P, Petrie A, Needleman I. Oral health and performance impacts in elite and professional athletes. Comm Dent Oral Epidemiol.2018;46(6):563-568.





SUNSTAR is a multinational company headquartered in Switzerland and founded in 1932 in Osaka, Japan. Today, SUNSTAR is a leading global company in the Mouth & Body Care field, a major presence in the Health & Beauty Care and the Environment & Amenity business fields, and a world leader in the Safety Support & High Technology field. In fiscal year 2019, consolidated net sales of the SUNSTAR Group totalled over 1.2 billion Swiss Francs. The products and services of SUNSTAR are distributed in more than 100 countries, and the company has 4000+ employees worldwide. Under the motto "Always strive to help people everywhere achieve better health and enhance their quality of life", SUNSTAR continuously provides high-value-added products and services all over the world. www.sunstar.com



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