I came across this article from earlier this year and it made me think of all the injuries that occur in sport. I have made many mouthguards in my time for kids and adults who engage in a variety of sports…footy players mostly. But Christina Johnson, like so many others, didn’t even think about having a custom mouthguard fitted. I’ve heard people say they are expensive, but how expensive is this injury? Not to mention the immense trauma this poor girl has gone through. And to think that only one girl on the team wears a properly fitted mouthguard. Only one out of 11-16 players. So in a society where most kids grow up playing some kind of sport, and many continue playing into their adult years, why isn’t the word out there about the importance of having a custom fitted mouthguard. Whose responsibility is it to educate the public on this very important aspect of dental and oral health? Could the Dentist, Dental Hygienist, Dental Therapist or Dental Prosthetist make it?
Over the counter mouthguards pose risks
Following a horrific dental injury, the Australian Dental Association has reaffirmed its stance on the importance of customised mouthguards over those standard types purchased over the counter. Struck in the mouth with a hockey stick during a game in Tasmania last week, veterinary graduate Christina Johnson suffered severe trauma to the mouth, with one of her front teeth being knocked out, the fracture of another the displacement and pushing back of multiple teeth, and lacerations to her lips and gums.
“I hadn’t thought about getting a custom fitted mouthguard from a dentist to wear when I play sport,” Johnson said. “I thought the mouthguard I was wearing during the game was good enough. One girl on my hockey team wears a dentist-fitted mouthguard but the rest of us use the ones you buy in stores. I really want to get the word out about how important it is to use a custom fitted mouthguard when playing sport.”
Now facing extensive dental reconstructive surgery, Johnson is an example of the the ADA’s recent research, which found that three in four active Australian use an over-the-counter mouthguard rather than on custom-fitted, a detail highlighted during its recent Dental Health Week The figure for children is one in two.
“The ADA emphasises once again to active Australians, schools, sporting clubs and associations that as much thought needs to be given to the type of mouthguard worn as any other piece of sporting equipment,” said Dr Peter Alldritt, chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee. “Over-the-counter mouthguards are often difficult to wear and don’t provide the same level of protection as custom-fitted mouthguards.”
part of their routine questionnaire to ask if their patient is playing a contact sport, and educate the patient, and/or the parents of the patient about the dangers of over the counter mouthguards? Maybe the sports clubs should take some responsibility and make a ruling whereby their players must be wearing a custom fitted mouthguard before they can go on to the field. Education is the key.
Original article: Over the Counter Mouthguards Pose Risk | Bite Magazine