Eastman Dental Institute


GB Rower and qualified dentist Zak Lee-Green on why good oral health is vital in elite sport

22 October 2018

Zak Lee-Green on Oral Health and Performance

A new film featuring British rower Zak Lee-Green has been launched to highlight the importance of good oral health to elite athletes. 

The interview with Zak, also a trained dentist, has been designed to complement three shorter videos promoting specific aspects of oral hygiene. 

Together they make up an integral part of our study into interventions and behaviour change amongst top sportsmen and women.

Lead researcher, Dr Julie Gallagher, said: “Our research has revealed that many elite athletes have high levels of tooth decay, acid erosion and gum disease.

Many have reported that their oral health problems negatively affect their performance as well as their ability to eat, relax, sleep and smile. 

Interventions using resources such as these films could prove vital to reversing this trend.”

Watch Zac's film>>

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/47099522


Professor Ian Needleman, Director of our Centre for Oral Health and Performance said: “Having firmly established the prevalence of oral disease amongst the UK’s top sportspeople and the impact this can have on their performance, it is important to begin to look for practical solutions. 

“We encourage athletes to look to their dentists for personalised coaching. Simple changes make a difference. 

“To reduce tooth decay risk, we advise using high fluoride toothpastes (available on prescription or from the dentists) and swapping sugar-containing drinks used for hydration with water. 

“Gum inflammation improves quickly with cleaning between the teeth using interdental brushes before toothbrushing.  

“Many thanks to GB Rowing who have provided valuable input in the form of focus groups and of course to Zak – a wonderful ambassador for good oral health.”

Watch the other oral health and performance films: