During the winter Olympics, The Globe and Mail printed this great article on how dentists contribute to the success of Olympians from Canada and around the world!
Since the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games there has been an Olympic dental program that offers help to athletes while they are competing in the games.
The idea was hatched by Dr. Paul Piccininni (pictured at right), a Toronto dentist who now runs the program. He became involved in the Olympics due from his relationshiop with the National Basketball Association, where he was director of athlete services. A true sports fan, Dr. Piccininni is a perfect fit.
At the 2014 Sochi games, there were 15 dentists and two dental technicians stationed at the sports venues. In addition, there were dentists standing by at each hockey game. Beat up teeth are something of an occupational hazard for hockey players. Many players have more than one dental implant.
Even sports that we might not usually suspect would leave participants vulnerable to dental injuries can be just that. Take the Canadian skier who wears a mouth guard because, as he hits the snow moguls, his knees can actually bump into his chin.
Contrary to what we might assume, these elite sports men and women often have oral health problems. They consume a lot of sports drinks that are loaded with sugar, which play havoc with tooth enamel. The sport that they love might put them at risk of mouth injuries. And, there are competitors that come from countries where health care is not easily available, and as such they can arrive at the games with chronic oral health issues.
The dental team sees a wide range of problems and injuries, including the need for a dental implant, and they play an integral part in keeping our Olympic heroes in top shape.
Who knows, maybe your dentist is a member of, or aspires to join this dental rescue team that is known as “Canada’s Olympic Medical Mafia”.
Hope you enjoy the article as we did!
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