London – A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine has reported that many soccer players in the European country have forgotten to take care of their teeth, and this is affecting their performance.

Although the United Kingdom has never been famous for exceptionally beautiful teeth, it seems that the lack of dental hygiene has a direct effect on the country’s soccer players. The research was conducted by dental professionals from the International Centre for Evidence-Based Oral Health at University College London, and was directed towards eight British soccer clubs to determine the situation of their dental health.

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez reacts after clashing his teeth with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal June 24, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Players from Hull, Southampton, Manchester United, Swansea, West Ham, Brighton, Cardiff, and Sheffield United were studied by the experts, and it was found that four out of ten have cavities.

The dentists studied 187 players’ teeth and found that 53 percent showed signs of dental erosion. Additionally, the report states that 45 suffered annoyances by the general state of their teeth. Furthermore, 7 percent admitted it affected their capacity to train and play.

Around 37 percent of the soccer players present tooth decay, 50 percent had teeth surrounded by acids. The study also found that 80 percent suffer from gum disease or gingivitis and 25 percent are sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.

According the the lead author and UCL Eastman Dental Institute alumni, Ian Needleman, “some of the football players had such bad teeth that jaw infections were running rampant throughout England’s soccer leagues”.

Medical staff from West Ham’s team believe that the poor dental hygiene, which is worse than that of the general population, is due to the high intake of sugary energy drinks. Two-thirds of the players studied admitted to consuming energy drinks at least three times a week. Others believe that the ill dental health is because of time constraints that come from a hectic training schedule.

“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,” stated Needleman.

Sources: University College London