Prevention of traumatic dental lesions: cognitive research on the role of mouthguards during sport activities in paediatric age

Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2007 Dec;8(4):193-8.


Aim: This study reports a personal contribution and the analysis of the most recent literature on prevention of dentoalveolar traumas, and the lack of knowledge and use of protective oral devices in children (7-12 years old) practicing sports. Different oral protection devices will be illustrated, and among them the types more suitable for the investigated age group.

Materials and methods: Recently we conducted a survey on a sample of 300 children between 8 and 11 years of age practicing basketball, to assess the frequency of oral traumas, correlated predisposing factors, level of knowledge of mouthguards and possible frequency of use of such devices.

Results: From the survey it emerged that only 30 subjects knew about mouthguards (15 of them received the information from their dentist) and none of them received information from the coach or within the sport club. Furthermore, only 3 subjects (1% of the sample) wore a mouthguard during practice. Our study and other literature contributions highlight the total lack of information of the practitioners, especially the young ones, and the unconcern for these problems by the organisations (clubs) where sports are practiced. A cycle of 2 brief conferences about orofacial trauma prevention and use of mouthguard was administered. Regarding the type of mouthguard more suitable to adolescent athletes, the semi-individual types of new generation seem to be the best choice, since they can be refitted multiple times in order to adapt to the dental and skeletal growth. Conclusion We can conclude reasserting the absolute need of providing information about the risks of orofacial trauma related with basketball and other contact sport activities, and to promote the use of mouthguards as a primary protective measure among athletes, which will considerably reduce the social costs associated with such trauma occurrences.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Basketball / injuries
  • Child
  • Dental Care for Children / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maxillofacial Injuries / prevention & control
  • Mouth Protectors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Tooth Injuries / prevention & control*