Mouthguard use and dental injury in sport: a questionnaire study of national school children in the west of Ireland

HSE Dental Services, St Mary's Headquarters, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
Journal of the Irish Dental Association 10/2012; 58(4):205-11.
Source: PubMed


The risk of children getting dental injuries during sport can be minimised by using a mouthguard. Within Ireland, information on mouthguard use and policy is limited. The extent of dental trauma experienced by children during sport is also unclear.
To determine the extent of mouthguard use, dental trauma and barriers to use among children. The survey also investigated school and sports club policy on mouthguard use in sport.
A questionnaire was sent to parents of 1,111 children aged nine to 13 years attending 25 randomly selected schools in the Health Service Executive West region of Ireland. It sought information about children's sporting activities, mouthguard policy and use, barriers to use, and dental accidents.
A total of 505 questionnaires were returned (46%). More than nine out of ten children were involved in sport. Mouthguards were worn by 22% of children during sport. Less than one-third of schools and sports clubs that children attended had a mouthguard policy. Significantly more children used mouthguards where there was a mouthguard policy. Reasons for not wearing mouthguards included cost, lack of knowledge and information, and lack of a mouthguard policy. One in ten children had suffered a sports accident in the previous year, of which 51% injured teeth. Of these, 72% visited a dentist within two hours.
The dental profession and individual practitioners should promote mouthguard use for children during sport and be advocates for the development of policies in schools and sporting organisations.

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    • "Maxillofacial injuries during sports should be studied further to determine the most frequent causes and indicate proper treatment and protection equipment to minimize the risk of an injured athlete being absent from practice and competition for a long period of time (TANAKA et al., 1996; WITHNALL et al., 2005). In one study, it was decided to survey the parents of several students in Ireland (O'MALLEY et al., 2012). When researchers noted that the rate of wearing mouthguards was significantly higher in schools and clubs with a mouthguard policy, they concluded that dental professionals should promote the development of mouthguard-wearing policies during sports activities. "
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