According to a 2019 study from the University College London, yes.
The research, published in the British Dental Journal, shows that many elite athletes have poor oral health, despite brushing their teeth more frequently than most people.
The study surveyed 352 Olympic and professional athletes from 11 sports, including cycling, swimming, rugby, football, rowing, sailing and hockey, by giving the participants dental checkups.
During the checkups, the athletes were measured for tooth decay, gum disease and acid erosion of the tooth enamel.
Participants were also asked what hygiene steps they practiced to keep their mouths healthy.
The results of the dental checkups showed high levels of oral disease, with almost half (49.1%) of the participants having revealed substantial levels of untreated tooth decay.
Many of the athletes reported that the state of their oral health had negatively affected how they trained and performed.
The state of the participants’ oral health was not due to a lack of hygiene. The study found that 94 percent of participants said they brushed their teeth at least twice per day, and 44 percent reported flossing their teeth at least once per day.
These figures are significantly higher than those reported by the general population (75 percent brushing twice a day and 21 percent flossing)
The UCL researchers also found that professional and Olympic athletes consume sports drinks, energy bars and energy gels more readily than the general population. These products are known to damage teeth.
These items are often high in sugar and acid, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and cause erosion of the tooth enamel.
Previous research has suggested a possible connection between high levels of tooth decay due to dry mouth caused by intense training.
As a result of the study, those who were surveyed said they would work hard to improve their hygiene to improve their overall oral health.