Background Elite athletes are at high risk for poor oral health. A screening program to monitor oral health and create dental awareness can improve oral health among elite athletes.
Objective Prior to RIO2016, a national dental screening program was conducted in elite athletes of the Nederlands Olympisch Committee*Nederlandse Sport Federatie (NOC*NSF).
Design Cross-sectional study.
Setting questionnairres via online surveys; intraoral screening at 5 dental offices througout the Netherlands by dentist trained specifically for this purpose.
Participants 800 Dutch athletes eligible for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 were invited to a costless an voluntary intraoral examination.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Questionnaires and dental screening program.
Main Outcome Measurements the decayed, missing and filled teeth-index (DMFT), the basic erosive wear examination (BEWE) and the Dutch Periodontal Screening-score (DPSI-score) were used to evaluate athletes oral health. Information on sociodemographic variables and sport performance were collected in questionnaires, which included also questions on Oral Health-Related Quality of Life (OHRQOL).
Results In total, 116 Dutch elite athletes were included in the study. The median (90%-range) dmft-score was 3.0 (0.0–16.0), the median BEWE-score was 2.0 (0.0–10.0) and the mean±SD DPSI-score was 2.0±0.73. Also OHRQOL was generally high, although only 28.2% of the athletes reported never having problems with their dentition or mouth. In 43% of the athletes clinical findings were reported which needed a direct referral to the general dentist.
Conclusions Oral health in Dutch elite athletes seems not worse than in the general population. Still, almost half of them needed dental treatment. Regular screening of oral health incorporated into the general preventive health care of elite athletes is necessary to ensure athletes are fully healthy during competitions like the Olympic and Paralympic Games.