Sport

Study finds top level footballers have terrible teeth

Ronaldinho. Franc Ribery. Charlie Adam.

Two of these footballers are legends of the game. The other lives on a steady diet of Irn Bru and deep-fried Mars Bars. All three of them have unsightly smiles.

And it seems this trio aren’t alone.

A new study examining the oral hygiene of players at Manchester United, Hull, Southampton, Swansea, West Ham, Brighton, Cardiff and Sheffield United, showed nearly four out of 10 had cavities.

Carried out by the International Centre for Evidence-Based Oral Health at University College London, the team examined the teeth of 187 players, finding 53 per cent had dental erosion, 45 were bothered by the state of their teeth and 7 per cent said it affected their ability to train or play.

Damningly, roughly 40 per cent of the athletes had tooth decay, compared with 30 per cent of the general population around the same age groups. Which, according to the study, is so bad it also affects the performances of some players.

Some explanations range from the amount of acidic foods and sugary drinks they consume on a daily basis for energy boosts, to the fact players get a lot of air in the mouth during exercise, which in turn dries the mouth out and so there is less protection from saliva.

Speaking of the findings, found to be on par with those found with athletes competing at London's 2012 Olympic Games, Prof Ian Needleman told the BBC: "These are individuals who otherwise invest so much in themselves so it's a surprising finding.

“There are two main groups - some have a catastrophic effect, they have very severe abscesses that stop them in their tracks and they cannot play or train.

“There'll be others experiencing pain affecting sleeping or sensitivity every time they take a drink. At this level of athlete, even small differences can be quite telling.”

Don’t tell Jose Mourinho though – now he has an excuse for all of Chelsea’s toothless performances.

[Via: BBC]

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