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Our focus is on exploring the links between oral health and performance and oral health promotion within sport. Our research at London 2012 highlighted the poor oral health of elite athletes with substantial numbers of athletes self-reporting negative impacts on wellbeing, training and performance and with similar outcomes in a systematic review.  

We are currently conducting a large epidemiological study of oral health in elite sport and developing a tool to measure impacts of oral health on training and performance.  The research is also investigating mechanisms by which oral health and performance are related.

The study has been awarded funding by GSK and a UCL Impact Award and we are collaborating with national teams and organisations. The research has an advisory group engaging with elite athletes, international sport organisations, sport and exercise medicine clinicians and scientists and experts in oral health. We are also completing a study investigating oral health and performance in English and Welsh Premier and Football League clubs. In terms of interventions, we are also developing an evidence-based toolkit for oral health promotion in sport. 

Our vision is to integrate oral health within sport and exercise medicine & science to achieve mutual gains in health, wellbeing and performance. Our long-term goals are to translate these findings into strategies to improve population health and wellbeing.

Maintaining Good Oral Health: A toolkit for elite athletes



Oral Health and Elite Sport Performance consensus statement in the British Journal of Sports Medicine [Open Access] 

Needleman I, Ashley P, Petrie A, Fortune F, Turner W, Jones J, Niggli J, Engebretsen L, Budgett R, Donos N, Clough T & Porter S. Oral health and impact on performance of athletes participating in the London 2012 Olympic Games: a cross-sectional study. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2013;47: 1054–1058. Altimetric score 239: ranking 19th out of all articles ever published by BJSM.  

Ashley P, Di Iorio A, Cole E, Tanday A, Needleman I. Oral health of athletes and association with performance: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine. In press 2014

Needleman I, Ashley P, Fine P, Haddad F, Loosemore M, de medici A, Donos N, Newton T, van Someren K, Moazzez R, Jaques R, Hunter G, Khan K, Shimmin M, Brewer J, Meehan L, Mills S & Porter S. Consensus statement: Oral health and elite sport performance. British Journal of Sports Medicine. In press 2014. Jointly published by the British Dental Journal.

Needleman I, Ashley P, Meehan L & Loosemore M. Oral Health in Sport. Position Statement. Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine. In press 2014.