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Research letter
Alarmingly poor oral health in international athletes competing in the Middle East
  1. Ashley Knight1,
  2. Mohammed Alsaey1,
  3. Abdulaziz Farooq2,
  4. Mathew G Wilson2,3,4
  1. 1 Sports Dentistry Department, Aspetar Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2 Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  3. 3 Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Doha, UK
  4. 4 Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Ms Ashley Knight, Sports Dentistry Department, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar; ashley.knight{at}

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Clinical oral health examination of 187 UK professional footballers revealed that oral health was poor (37% players had active dental caries, 53% dental erosion  and 5% moderate–severe irreversible periodontal disease). Importantly, 20% reported that it impacted on their quality of life and 7% on their training and/or performance.1 Consequently, a call of action for oral health screening was recently issued in this journal to help improve the oral health of athletes.2 Aspetar Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Hospital (Doha, Qatar) accepted this call by investing in a sports dentistry department. Following the ethical approval, 1245 individuals (91.7% male) presented at our facility for dental screening, of whom 56.5% were Arab, 29.6% Black, 7.9% White and 6.8% Asian. All individuals were registered with the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and were invited for dental screening via Qatar’s National Sports Medicine Programme. Informed consent was provided by all individuals, with parents/guardians providing for those individuals aged under 18 years. Athletes (n=1079; age 21.7±6.8 years) were defined as a QOC registered individual who undertook regular exercise or training (≥6 hours/week) for …

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  • Contributors AK and MA collected the data and are responsible for the overall content as guarantors. AK, AF and MGW analysed the data. AK and MGW wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the conception and design of the study, data interpretation and critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar (IRB #E2013000003).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.