Their paychecks are bigger, their wives are hotter, and even though they put their pants on one leg at a time like everyone else those pants are a lot nicer, but at the end of the day professional athletes are just like the rest of us, they’re still only human and have imperfections. While it isn’t difficult to list a handful of ridiculously good-looking athletes the only reason you know their names in the first place is because of their athletic abilities not because they were blessed with piercing blue eyes. You see them on your TV screen, in commercials, and on the covers of magazines but at the end of the day athletes are not models. Hockey players for example are known for, among other things, missing teeth. And they’re not alone.
Take Cristiano Ronaldo for example. Anyone who has seen the soccer legend on the front of GQ with a topless Alessandra Ambrosio will agree that the Portuguese professional footballer is easy on the eyes. Look further back at the Real Madrid player’s career and you will discover that he once had some very bad teeth. Other pro athletes who notably turned to their dentists for help include former NHLer Bobby Clarke who threw in some replacement teeth to secure a spot as an executive with the Philadelphia Flyers and Brazlian soccer star Ronaldinho who publically underwent a major mouth makeover in 2013.
One would assume these athletes suffer from less then desirable smiles due to the physical nature of their chosen professions; but one study points the finger at increased alkaline levels in athletes’ saliva which can lead to teeth problems too.
Another study found that four out of every 10 soccer players in Britain having rotting teeth — and it’s gotten so bad that it affects how some of them play. Previous research has shown "striking" levels of bad teeth in athletes competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
That’s right, snaggle tooth jokes, mouth guards and high sticks aside, multiple studies have researched and observed the oral health of professional athletes across nearly every sport. In one study researches looked at 278 athletes across 25 sports in North and South America, Europe, and Africa. Over 40% said they were “bothered” by their oral health—28 percent said it impacted their quality of life, and 18 percent felt it affected their training and performance in their sport of choice. Fifty-five percent of athletes had some kind of tooth decay, 45 percent had dental erosion, and there was a hearty amount of gingivitis as well.
One thing I don’t understand is why athletes with so much money forgo basic dental health. Their bodies are the pinnacle of the human form, but their teeth leave a lot to be desired. Here are 15 athletes who have had really bad teeth and should probably take more visits to the dentist.
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15 James Harden
Let’s start this list off on a positive note, technically Harden IS getting his teeth fixed and if there is any better motivation to follow suit, the Houston Rockets shooting guard was rewarded with his very own Kardashian for getting braces. I think that’s an L.A. thing because growing up when I went to the dentist the most I ever walked out with was a cool pencil or a temporary tattoo.
14 Duncan Keith
Duncan Keith famously lost seven teeth during the 2010 Western Conference Final when he blocked a shot with his face. His teeth have since been fixed but this list wouldn’t be the same without that smile. After losing all those teeth in Game 4 Keith was quoted saying:
"My teeth weren't good to start with so hopefully I can get some better ones now."
“I took one breath and it felt like my whole mouth was missing so I knew there were some teeth gone,” Keith said. “I saw a couple fall out and I had one in the back of my throat. I could feel it and coughed it out. A bunch of them disintegrated it felt like. That sort of thing happens. I’m not the only guy who’s ever lost bunch of teeth or been hit in the mouth with a puck or stick and I’m sure I won’t be the last guy.”
If that doesn’t paint a picture.
13 Michael Strahan
Michael Strahan spent his entire 15-year career with the New York Giants and can now be found co-hosting Live! with Kelly and Michael with co-host Kelly Ripa. Let's be real the guy just wouldn't be the same without his famous gap-toothed smile, in fact I don’t think Strahan SHOULD get his teeth fixed. I do however have a small obsession with Jimmy Kimmel Live’s segment where celebrities read mean tweets about themselves and clearly @fattmernandez disagrees.
"Michael Strahan's teeth are having a middle school dance, where the boys stand on one side of the room and girls stand on the other," the tweet said.
12 Luis Suarez
If you can’t beat them just eat them? Most of us left this habit behind in nursery school, Luis Suarez and his chompers were infamously banned for four months during the World Cup for seeming to bite Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Was this the first time Suarez has been accused of biting an opponent? No. Will it be the last? I’m not sure what the Uruguayan professional soccer player needs more, a dentist or a therapist.
11 Michael Phelps
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, probably isn’t his teeth. However when you’re the best Olympic swimmer of all time you’re going to find yourself on the cover of your fair share of magazines and with more than a few endorsement deals and therefor under a rather large microscope.
Phelps' crowded teeth have actually driven many to suggest he has an incurable condition called Marfan Syndrome. Before you attack and call me insensitive an excerpt from his autobiography assures his fans he is disease-free.
10 Joakim Noah
After dislocating his shoulder recently many would suspect Joakim Noah’s future with the Chicago Bull’s is uncertain. But fear not Bulls fans, if Twilight and The Vampire Diaries have taught me anything it’s that his kind are very quick to heal, and being immortal and all Noah has a very long, long career ahead of him as the NBA’s first vampire.
Noah underwent oral surgery in 2006 after losing his front left tooth as a result of the elbow. I wonder if his dentist was tempted to completely overhaul his smile?
9 Charlie Adam
Charles "Charlie" Adam is a Scottish soccer player for Stoke City and the Scotland national team. While reading up on Charlie Adams to write this article I read one comment where someone described Adams as someone who appears to brush his teeth with supermarket Scotch every morning. And then there’s the classic fan chant “How Wide Are Your Teeth” with the Grammy award winning lyrics:
“How wide are your teeth?
How wide are your teeth?
Oh Charlie Adam,
How wide are your teeth?”
Popularly dubbed "the phenomenon", he is considered by experts and fans to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time. The first person I think of when I hear "Ronaldo" and soccer is ... Cristiano Ronaldo. Then again I’m not the biggest soccer fan. While that Ronaldo didn’t always have pearly whites he put his salary to good use and well, look at him.
THIS Ronaldo, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, now retired, spends his time playing poker.
Too many teeth not enough mouth. He's already been given the nickname "fat Ranaldo", or else there would probably be a not-so-nice nickname.
7 Anthony Davis
People like to make fun of Anthony Davis’ eyebrow (singular), but his bottom teeth are no better. Davis, known for his connected eyebrows, trademarked the phrases “Fear The Brow” and “Raise The Brow” in 2012, a smart way to cash in on what is normally seen as a glaring imperfection. If he doesn’t plan on fixing his unfortunate bite there’s likely a trademark phrase in the works for this NBA All-star teeth. Wait for it.
6 Keith Tkachuk
Keith Tkachuck is considered to be one of the greatest U.S.-born players in NHL history. In a moment many hockey fans will never forget Tkachuk had a puck hit him just below his nose, shattering his upper jaw and crushing the bone so badly, four teeth simply dropped out of his mouth. He sat out only three games, returning to the ice after 10 days with six front teeth missing.
5 Franck Ribéry
Franck Ribéry is a French professional soccer player for German club Bayern Munich. He has been recognized on the world stage as one of the best French players of his generation and in 2013, he was ranked fourth in The Guardian's list of the best players in the world. Following Zinedine Zidane's retirement from the sport, Les Bleus were hopeful Ribery would lead them into the next generation. Thanks to an unfortunate mouth full of teeth he makes our list as well.
4 Alan Campbell
An abscessed wisdom tooth threatened to keep British rower Alan Campbell from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The infection spread to his shoulder, back and eventually settled in his right knee, requiring surgery two months before the games and ruining his training. If that isn’t enough to convince you to take better care of your teeth I don’t know what is. Listen up kids.
3 Matt Cooke
Currently a free agent, Matt Cooke has had his fair share of suspensions while playing in the NHL. Cooke’s playing style has been criticized for intentionally attempting to aggravate opponents and for hitting in ways more likely to cause injury such as hits to the head. In 2006, Dustin Brown nailed Cooke with an elbow and he lost a tooth.
He never got it fixed. He has a fake tooth but rarely puts in because “that’s not who I am.”
2 Alex Ovechkin
For all you non-hockey fans, Alexander Ovechkin is a Russian professional hockey player and captain of the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin lost his front tooth after taking a high stick in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers in 2007. He has said in interviews that he will eventually get his teeth fixed once his hockey career is over, since more are bound to get knocked out. For now his gap-tooth grin has become somewhat of a trademark.
1 Chris Johnson
There are grills and then there are Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson’s disgusting gold teeth. You wouldn’t expect to find someone who has spent so much on their teeth (and still has them all) to make this list. But I think you’ll all agree with me that these permanent gold teeth just aren’t a good look.
Johnson shared the story behind his gold teeth with Huddle Up a weekly Q&A with Cardinals players in November explaining everything from the story behind them, to the process one goes through to have gold teeth, and the fact that he did this when he was in the 12th grade.
“A lot of my friends, a lot of people I grew up with have gold teeth. All the older dudes that were successful, they had the old-school cars with the rims, they had the gold teeth, the jewelry, that’s just what it was.”
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