Following a horrific dental injury, the Australian Dental Association [ADA] 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 though about getting a custom fitted mouthguard from a dentist to wear when I play sport,” Johnson said. “I though the mouthguard I was wearing 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 ans 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.”