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Footballer teeth

  • A blog discussing problems that footballers can experience with their teeth.

    By Steve Wake

Aside from the biting antics of Lois Suarez, it is probably presumed that the last thing on a footballers mind is their teeth. After all, one presumes that premiership and championship players have both the money and the time to invest in perfect teeth. One also supposes that because of their media profile they would want to invest in their teeth.

Research

Researchers from the International centre for Evidence-Based Oral Health in London expanded on earlier research carried out on athlete’s teeth during the London 2012 Olympics. The original research suggested that a significant number of athletes reported that their oral health impacted on their quality of life and almost 20% (of 300 tested) said that oral health impacted on their training or performance. The researchers decided to take this study into the field of professional football.

Eight clubs participated in the study, Manchester United, Hull FC, Southampton FC, Swansea City AFC, and West Ham United from the Premier League and Brighton and Hove Albion, Cardiff FC from the Championship and Sheffield United from League One. Participants had to be a member of the senior team squad and able to understand the process and be at least 18 years of age. In all, 187 professional footballers were involved and this was deemed to be a representative cross section of professional footballers. It was the largest study every carried out on footballers teeth.

Most footballers (73.4%) had attended a check-up within the last 12 months. Over half of the footballers tested had dental erosion.  Almost half those tested were bothered by their oral health and nearly 7% reported their oral health impacted on training or performance.

Perhaps the most shocking results were in relation to Periodontal Disease. This is an inflammatory disease that affects the tissues that surround and support the teeth (the periodontium). Irreversible periodontitis was present in 5% of players but by far the worst finding was that more then 8/10 footballers had Gingivitis (the initial stage of periodontitis). I find this to be shocking in relation to the number of footballers reporting having a check-up within the last 12 months. It may be that their general dental practitioners are simply not picking this up at all.

Summary

We in the Dental Negligence Team find that all too often gingivitis and periodontal disease is discovered far too late. If treated quickly and properly the disease can be halted, it cannot be cured altogether.  It is recommended that if you often have bleeding upon brushing your teeth, you should see your dentist.  If your dentist fails to spot gingivitis or periodontal disease you may end up needing significant, lengthy and costly restorative work when the disease has taken hold fully. If your dentist fails to diagnose periodontal disease then I am afraid he or she may have been negligent.

Whether you are a professional footballer or not, you should expect your dentist to monitor the health of your teeth and if you discover you have advance periodontal disease when you have not been told about it in the past then please get in touch with us here.

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