SECONDARY SCHOOL ATHLETES: A STUDY OF MOUTHGUARDS

8 Dec
2009

mouthguards

INTRODUCTION

Sports-related dental trauma remains a risk for children and adolescents, and the management of such patients often calls for the attention of pediatric dentists and orthodontists. Though the use of mouth protectors (mouthguards) has been advocated for more than 33 years and the athletic communities of various countries have started to appreciate their usefulness, there is no available literature on this subject of growing importance in Nigeria.

Ibadan is the capital city of Oyo State and the largest town in the southern Sahara. It has a long history of active interest in sports generally and has the privilege of hosting the first stadium in Nigeria (Liberty Stadium), which was opened on September 30, I960. This is not unconnected with the fact that Ibadan was one of the first cities in Nigeria that received the western civilization from her colonial masters (Britain). viagra soft

There is clear support in the scientific literature for the use of mouthguards in contact sports. Moreover, there is evidence that mouthguards are effective in protecting against concussions and injuries to the cervical spine.

Globally, sports are becoming more attractive to children, adolescents, and young adults. The reasons are obvious—ranging from financial rewards received by the athletes to the political importance and glory received by the participating countries. However, the incidence of oro-facial injuries associated with sports, especially contact sports, has been reported for different communities as ranging from 32.3% for soccer athletes to 56.5% for rugby athletes, 27.6% in soccer, 55.4% in basketball, and 72.3% in wrestling. At the time of this report, the only study on sports-related maxillofacial fractures in Nigerian patients reported a prevalence of 5.4%. With the increasing interest in sports, the incidence of sports-related oro-facial injuries is likely to increase which therefore calls for more emphasis on preventive measures especially in developing countries like Nigeria where cost of treatment of dental injuries is relatively high due to poor funding of the health care system. Moreover, in young athletes, the potentially disfiguring dental injuries deserve adequate preventive measures. online canadian pharmacy

There is a strong support among players and researchers for mouthguard wearing to be made compulsory. It is generally recommended that:

  1. Mouthguards be worn during both practice sessions and games
  2. The habit of wearing a mouthguard should begin at an early age
  3. Mouthguards be regularly replaced while children are still growing
  4. Adult players replace their mouthguards at least every two years.

In the United States, for example, with the introduction in 1962 of mandatory use of a face mask and mouth protector for all high school and collegiate football participants by the National Alliance Football Rules Committee and the National Collegiate Athletic Association later passing a similar rule, the incidence of facial and dental injury per 100 players reportedly decreased from 2.26% prior to mandatory face masks and mouthguards usage to 0.3% in 1966. However, previous reports in Nigeria on trauma to the permanent incisors (though not strictly sports-related) consistently gave increasing prevalences of traumatic injuries to the maxillary incisors as 14.5%, 15.9%, and 19.1%), respectively. Meanwhile, it has been shown that individuals who take part in contact sports and those who have an increased overjet and inadequate lip coverage have an increased prevalence and tend to be more severe. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of mouthguard awareness and use, as well as the amount and type of oral trauma associated with and without mouthguard wear during sports among secondary school athletes in Ibadan, Nigeria.

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