Introduction

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DOI: 10.17653/2374-9075.SS0007

Soccer is one of the popular team sports in Japan. Soccer players need to keep health condition to be able to display high performance. In general, oral health is an important element of overall health and quality of life.1 The etiological studies regarding the relationship between sports and oral health revealed that athletes may have poor oral health such as high levels of dental caries, dental erosion and dental trauma.2,3 It is proposed that poor oral health could down regulate athletes performance.4 This indicates that the poor oral health could affect soccer players performance as well. However, the relationship between oral health and performance is not well understood in professional soccer players. In the present study, we first performed a questionnaire survey to evaluate the players concerns about oral health. Subsequently, we evaluated oral health conditions with reference to the DMF index.

Materials and Methods

The study was approved by the local Ethics Committee. For this study, 15 professional soccer players in Shizuoka aged 21 to 37 years (mean age: 30 4.4 years) participated in the oral health screening (Figure. 01, top). The height ranged 154 to 180 centimeter (cm) (mean height: 172.9 6.0 cm) (Figure. 01, middle). The weight raged 51 to 85 kilogram (Kg) (mean weight: 69.5 7.6 Kg) (Figure. 01, bottom).

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Fig. 1: Distributions of age (top), height (cm; middle) and weight (Kg; bottom) in 15 soccer players.

Before examining oral health conditions, we performed a questionnaire as follows:

1. During the past 12 months, have you had check-up and/or dental care?

2. Do you have: heart problem? Diabetes? Allergies? Asthma?

3. Have you had any other serious medical condition not conveyed by the questionnaire?

4. What are your particular concerns regarding your oral health? (caries, gums, bad breath, temporal mandibular joint disorder etc.)

5. Have you ever been given tooth brushing instruction before?

The investigations were done by probing, naked eye examination, checking mobility of the teeth and gum bleeding etc. The decayed (D), missing (M) and filled (F) index (DMF index) was used to assess caries prevalence.

Results

The questionnaire revealed that about half of soccer players (n = 7, 47%) had the opportunity to take check-up and/or dental care during the past 12 months. None of them had diseases such as heart problem, diabetes, allergies and asthma. Their particular concerns about oral health are caries (n = 4, 27%) and gums (n = 2, 13%). Few soccer players had the concerns about dentin hypersensitivity to cold water. About half of soccer players (n = 7, 47%) had been given tooth brushing instruction. The distributions of decayed teeth (DT), missing teeth (MT) and filled teeth (FT) in 15 soccer players were shown in Figure . 02. The mean values of DT, MT and FT were 0.7 1.4, 7.5 5.1 and 0, respectively. The mean value of DMF index in 15 soccer players was 8.2 5.0.

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Fig. 2: Distributions of decayed (D), missing (M) and filled (F) teeth in 15 soccer players.

Discussion and Conclusion

It has previously been reported that soccer players on an elite level may have a somewhat higher risk of developing caries than non-players.5 Indeed, the mean DMF index (mean SD, 5.7 4.1) in professional soccer players of the football club Barcelona was greater, compared with medical and dental students (1.2 and 0.9, respectively).6 Consistent with this report, we found that the mean DMF index in soccer players in Shizuoka was markedly high (mean SD, 8.2 5.0). Although the mean values of DT and MT in these soccer players were 0.7 1.4 and 0, respectively, that of FT teeth was high (7.5 5.1). Thus, the soccer players may be sensitive to treatment of caries.

The poor level of oral health also applies to athletes other than soccer players.3 Previous studies suggested that diet,7 sports drink8 and decreased salivary flow during exercise9 were involved in the causes for poor level of oral health. Therefore, in the next step, we need to evaluate these factors and provide proper suggestions to the professional soccer players. Because oral health is an essential element of overall health and because periodical oral examination by dentists is important to prevent the occurrence of caries and periodontal diseases, some strategies of oral health promotion would be necessary. In the future, we provide full support to prevent oral diseases by providing dental care education to the player themselves as well as their staff.