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New study says tooth decay could be behind footballers’ poor performance

Footballer tooth decay

A recent study found that professional footballers have poor dental health, which affects their performance, according to dental experts.

Players from Manchester United, Hull, Southampton, Swansea, West Ham, Brighton, Cardiff and Sheffield United all took part in the study carried out by dentists from the International Centre for Evidence-Based Oral Health at University College London.

They found that oral health was poor: 37% players had cavities, 53% dental erosion and 5% periodontal disease. 45% were bothered by their oral health, 20% reported an impact on their quality of life and 7% on training or performance.

So how is it that these pampered players, both highly paid and highly trained, have such poor dental health? One cause might be sugary sports drinks, consumed by nearly two-thirds of participants at least three times a week, although the researchers suggest that “the relationship between sports drinks and dental erosion remains unclear.”

However, Damien Walmsley of the British Dental Association said: “The high degree of erosion seen in footballers’ teeth is likely to reflect a high consumption of either sports or fizzy drinks following strenuous exercise.

“Contrary to expectation, sports drinks are rarely a healthy choice. They don’t necessarily contain high amounts of sugar, but the high levels of acidity can cause irreversible damage to teeth.”

The researchers highlighted the fact that few teams integrate oral health promotion within overall medical care, and pointed to the lack of ongoing support and reinforcement of positive oral health for the athletes. They concluded that: “Oral diseases are preventable with cost-effective interventions. Oral health screening and oral health promotion should both become routine elements of medical care in professional football.”

Posted by Bridge Dental and Implant Clinic on 6th November 2015, under Tooth decay