A Finnish study found that teen athletes have better oral health behavior than other adolescents, brushing their teeth more frequently than their non-athlete peers. The study also found that girls had better health behavior habits than boys.
Using a computer-based questionnaire on oral hygiene, 1,230 adolescents of similar age attending junior high schools in Finland were asked to self-report their health and oral behaviors. The researchers then compared the answers of the young athletes with a population-based sample of ordinary adolescents.
The results showed that athletes indicated more favorable health behavior compared to their counterparts. The athletes reported eating more than their non-athlete peers. In addition, the athlete boys reported consuming more carbonated drinks and chocolate than the rest of those surveyed.
Even though the athletes reported better health and oral behaviors overall, the authors of the study recommended that continuous oral health education be targeted at all adolescents, with boys being targeted with information on healthy energy sources.
The study appears in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry.