The London 2012 Olympians showed the world how one can devote themselves to exercise and perfect health. But what many do not know is that the athletes were also given the opportunity to improve their oral health.
The London Olympic Village accommodated a dental clinic supported by six dentists and two hygienists, and was opened 16 hours a day for the Olympians and their supporting staff members.
It was estimated that over 2,000 athletes, backup staff, trainers, and coaches were rendered free dental services during the games.
Dr. Paul Warren, director of global professional and scientific relations for Proctor & Gamble Co., stated that majority of the treatment rendered is basic dental care and tooth restorations.
Proctor & Gamble provided the financial support and the Crest and Oral B products to the clinic. Warren, a dentist, also stated that although many of these athletes are at the top of their sport, many of them are from countries where proper dental care is not adequate or available.
These athletes value their oral health and look forward to the opportunity to have their teeth cleaned and treated at the games.
Dr. Tony Clough, BDS, director of the Olympic dental clinic, said, “the amount of cavities in developed countries and the lack of dental care some athletes have had in their countries are surprising. Money, time, and lack of available care seem to be the root of the problem.”
Oral health greatly affects the overall health of the body. Clough explains, “An athlete cannot perform to his or her best with poor oral health. Wisdom teeth infections and toothaches cause systemic problems, which affect performance and cause an inability to concentrate, train, or sleep.”
Clough emphasizes that, “Oral health is just as important as the health of any other part of the body, and it is our responsibility to educate athletes, coaches, and most of all, team physicians about the importance of good oral health.”
Warren hopes the presence of the dental clinic at the Olympic Village will cause the athletes to advocate good oral health along with excellent physical health.
• Dr. Rashmi (Rush) Bhatnagar, DMD, MPH, can be contacted at (480) 598-5900 or visit www.BellaVistaDentalCare.com.