Objectives: Elite athletes are at high risk for poor oral health. A screening program to assess oral health and create dental awareness can improve oral health among elite athletes but has not been performed in the Netherlands before. We summarize the first results from such a screening conducted in Dutch elite athletes of the Nederlands Olympisch Committee*Nederlandse Sport Federatie (NOC*NSF, Dutch Olympic Committee). Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 800 Dutch athletes eligible for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 were invited to a costless and voluntary oral examination. The decayed, missing, and filled teeth-index (DMFT), the basic erosive wear examination (BEWE) and the Dutch Periodontal Screening-index (DPSI) were used to evaluate athlete’s oral health. Information on sociodemographic variables and sport performance were collected in questionnaires. 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. Oral health-related quality of life was generally high, although only 28.2% of the athletes reported never having problems with their dentition or mouth. In 43% of the athlete’s clinical findings were reported which needed a direct referral to the general dentist. Conclusion: Oral health in this subsample of Dutch elite athletes was surprisingly affected as almost half of them needed dental treatment. Further research is needed to allow conclusions about oral health in Dutch elite athletes more broadly. However, 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.

Additional Metadata
Keywords elite athletes, Olympics, Oral health, prevention, screening
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/00913847.2018.1546105, hdl.handle.net/1765/112786
Journal Physician and Sportsmedicine
Citation
Kragt, L, Moen, M.H. (Maarten H.), van den Hoogenband, C.R, & Wolvius, E.B. (2018). Oral health among Dutch elite athletes prior to Rio 2016. Physician and Sportsmedicine. doi:10.1080/00913847.2018.1546105