Though we treat our teeth separately from our bodies, and keep dentistry and medicine in their distinct spheres, as my colleague Olga Khazan pointed out earlier this week, it turns out that teeth are part of our bodies. And as such, you could almost say it makes a certain kind of sense that other things we do to our bodies affect our teeth, too.
One of the most interesting dental correlations of recent times was noted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which, after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, released a report calling for more research on athletes’ oral health. Apparently some of the Beijing Olympians were not looking like models in a Listerine commercial. And London in 2012 wasn’t much better, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine last year.
The IOC suggested that the high rates of tooth decay and gingivitis among elite athletes could be linked to sugary sports drinks. A reasonable proposal, especially since you can often find Olympians gracing the bottles and advertisements of those sports drinks. But a small new study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that there might be a less intuitive reason for the hot bods/bad teeth connection.