Home' News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin June 2015 Contents 12
aDVocacY on oral HealtH
Many of the Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) advocacy
efforts reported here in the News Bulletin reflect our activities with
governments, regulators and other key bodies.
In addition to these activities, ADA is constantly working to
improve the oral health of our community. One such activity is our
advocacy work to increase the use of mouthguards in contact and
high risk sports.
WHY Wear a moUtHGUarD?
Australian research has shown sports injuries account for
approximately one-third of all traumatic injuries to teeth. Each year
thousands of adults and children are treated for dental injuries
which could have been prevented or minimised by wearing a well
While awareness of the benefits of wearing a mouthguard is
increasing, especially in schools and at junior club level, there is
still a need for greater uptake across the community particularly in
high risk sports.
Orofacial injuries can occur by a number of mechanisms including:
• collision between athletes, the ground or other structures close
to or in the field of play; or
• direct contact with a stick, ball, puck or other projectile.
WHo SHoUlD Wear a moUtHGUarD?
A mouthguard will help cushion a blow to the face, minimising the
risk of broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw.
Therefore, mouthguards should be recommended for all contact
or combat sports, including:
• wrestling, boxing and martial arts;
• stick and ball sports such as lacrosse and hockey; and
• ball sports such as football (all codes), basketball and netball.
Even in non-contact sports such as cycling and skateboarding, a
mouthguard is a useful protective device in addition to a helmet.
Mouthguards should be worn during both training and at games,
as the statistics on when trauma occurs is similar for both.
Mouthguard use should be promoted equally for females, males,
children and adults playing recreational and professional sports.
With the support of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, the ADA
Oral Health Promoter and the Policy Team have been looking at
how compulsory mouthguard use might become the expected
standard across all clubs and high risk sports. The first step in this
process was to determine what might be considered to fit into
the category of a high risk sport and then identify which of these
sports already had adequate rules or standards in place regarding
the wearing of protective equipment including a mouthguard.
Joint moUtHGUarD policY DeVelopeD
While this work is progressing, we are pleased to report a joint
Mouthguard Policy has been developed in conjunction with Sports
Medicine Australia (SMA). This policy is intended to be used by
clubs as a template for implementing a strict ‘No Mouthguard, No
Play’ policy without exception.
With the football and hockey season well underway, it is important
that parents, players, coaches and trainers are aware a properly
fitted mouthguard is an essential piece of equipment. Investing
in a custom-made mouthguard costs less than a pair of sport
shoes – a small price to pay to avoid the expense and heartache of
repairing damaged teeth and gums.
By developing a joint position with SMA on the use of a
custom-made mouthguard in all sports and activities, the ADA
can expand its reach considerably when it comes to oral health
prevention. The SMA is the peak body for the prevention of
lifestyle diseases through sports medicine, science and injury
Dental HealtH Week 2015 – SportS anD oral
The Mouthguard Policy will be part of the resources available for
Dental Health Week 2015. The theme of this year’s campaign
‘Sports and Oral Health’ highlights the oral health risks associated
with consuming large quantities of sports drinks, energy gels and
other so called health snacks. The campaign urges all Australians
who play sport or workout to talk to their dentist – as their
actions on the field or at the gym can be impacting their oral
HealtH proFeSSionalS plaY an important role
Remember, as health professionals you play an important role in
advocacy. Speak to your patients about their sports involvement;
include it in their medical history; discuss the value of a
mouthguard; provide your patients with a clear understanding
of which sports should use a mouthguard as a part of their
Mouthguards should be examined as a part of regular dental
consultations with adjustments and replacements as required
especially in children and adolescents while their dentition and
jaw are still developing.
The Mouthguard Policy, aimed to assist clubs deliver the highest
level of safety to their members, is available to all sporting
associations and clubs and can be downloaded from the ADA
or SMA websites.
ADA Oral Health Promoter Manager, Policy and Regulation
Representing our membership
ADA and SMA develop
JOINT MOUTHGUARD POLICY
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