Complaints that can arise from bad teeth

Bad teeth can do more than just cause pain in your mouth. It can lead to groin problems, heart problems and even depression. All the more reason to take good care of your teeth. Because bad teeth do more than just cause problems in your mouth. And wisdom teeth in particular can cause a lot of trouble.

Robin van Persie and Jeffrey Gouweleeuw: felled by their teeth

The footballers Robin van Persie and Jeffrey Gouweleeuw know all about it: dental problems caused them to fall out of circulation. Gouweleeuw, defender of SC Heerenveen, missed a number of matches in 2011 because he had problems with his groin. A wisdom tooth turned out to be the cause. However, when it was pulled, the misery was not over. His groin had become infected and was so painful that the footballer could barely walk.

Unerupted and/or infected wisdom teeth: more injuries and even depression

Research in athletes has shown that an infected or unerupted wisdom tooth can cause quite a few problems. This means that there is a greater risk of injury and even depression.

How can an unerupted or infected wisdom tooth cause problems elsewhere in the body?

It has been shown that the unerupted or inflamed wisdom tooth provides a nerve impulse in that part of the brain where posture and body movement are controlled. But that part where the emotional life is located is also regulated. Athletes (but also non-professional athletes) who suddenly develop vague complaints would do well to have a thorough examination carried out by a dentist.

The entire nervous system can suffer from an infected wisdom tooth

In humans, the entire central nervous system can suffer from bad teeth or an infected or unpulled wisdom tooth. Medical supervisors of top athletes know this and often send their athletes to the dentist if vague complaints keep occurring. This also happened to Robin van Persie in 2009. The striker had injuries again and again. The club doctors thought that this could be related to his clamped wisdom teeth and when all four of these wisdom teeth were removed, Van Persie suddenly had no complaints anymore. At the Sevilla club they have known that for some time. The players have been going to the dentist there for extensive examinations since 1995. AC Milan player Cissohko was not hired because he had bad teeth. And at Bayern Munich the players have to visit the dentist every six months to check the condition of their teeth, molars and jaws. At the British Arsenal they have also known for ten years that the correlation between teeth and injuries can be great. The wisdom teeth were therefore also removed from half of the selection.

Research into the connection between dental problems and injury susceptibility among top athletes

In the Netherlands, research is underway into the link between dental problems and injury susceptibility among top athletes. Twelve professional clubs from the Netherlands and Belgium are participating in this, including Twente, Roda, AZ and Volendam, and top athletes from the Netherlands and Belgium.

The first results

This research has already shown that:

  1. Muscle and tendon problems go together with problems with teeth and jaws
  2. Of the 178 football players, 127 appeared to have problems with jaw problems and dental problems. Of the 91 athletes, no fewer than 67 of them turned out to have a dental problem that caused more injuries.


The M3 or wisdom tooth

In dentistry terms, the wisdom tooth has M3. It is the third large molar at the back of the mouth. The name wisdom tooth mainly has to do with the time in which the molars erupt, namely after puberty when the mind should also be there. Normally every person gets 4 wisdom teeth. About 70,000 wisdom teeth are extracted in the Netherlands every year. It is best to do this before the age of 25, because that is when the body recovers best.

Problems with wisdom teeth: how do they arise?

The problems with wisdom teeth are because the human jaw has become smaller because we have started living differently. As a result, the wisdom teeth are almost always stuck or there is far too little room for them to come out of the jaw. As a result, they do not break through or only partially break through or they become crooked. This makes brushing more difficult and can cause gum infections. This in turn can lead to damage to nearby molars. But a tumor can even develop.

Top athletes who were disabled by their wisdom teeth

Top athletes must always perform at a high level. Their wisdom teeth can get in the way of this. Examples of top athletes who had their wisdom teeth removed include:

  • Van Persie
  • Gouweleeuw
  • Cyclist Andy Schleck had to have his wisdom teeth extracted in 2011 and was subsequently unable to participate in the World Cup
  • Koen Verweij, the skater who finished third at the European Championships in 2011, failed to perform at the National Distance Championships that were held in December 2011. He himself said that this was due to his wisdom teeth that were erupting
  • Tennis player Thiemo de Bakker canceled the Miami tournament in 2011. His wisdom teeth had just been extracted and it was causing him so much trouble that he could not perform.
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