An increase in the number of Australian children playing high intensity sport is contributing to an increase in oral trauma emergencies
The frequency of children presenting to emergency departments with oral trauma has increased by 21% over the past 10 years.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is urging all parents to have their children fitted for a custom mouth guard with more than 60% of Aussie kids aged 5 to 14 participating in sport.
The ADA’s Oral Health Committee Chairman, Dr Peter Alldritt, said sporting accidents are one of the most common causes of dental injury and result in thousands of trauma presentations each year, many of which could be avoided or minimised with a protective mouth guard.
“More than half of Australian children who play a contact sport do not wear a mouth guard, and just 36% of children aged 5 to 17 years who own a mouth guard actually wear it during matches, games and training sessions,” Dr Alldritt said.
“The risks associated with not wearing a mouth guard when playing a contact sport are serious and range from cuts to the lips and mouth, to broken or knocked out teeth and broken jaws.”
“Just like wearing a helmet while riding a bike is a given, so too should be the practice of wearing a mouth guard when playing contact sport. It is a simple and highly effective way for children to avoid serious injury,” Dr Alldritt said.
“Aussie Rules Football, rugby league and union, soccer, hockey, basketball and cricket account for approximately 75% of all sports-related injuries in Australia,” Dr Alldritt said.
To encourage Australian school students and club participants to protect their teeth while playing sport, the ADA is once again hosting its Committed to Mouthguards competition, offering entrants the chance to win one of three $1000 grants for sporting equipment and facilities. The competition launches later this month.