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Mouthguard Use and Awareness of Junior Rugby League Players in the Gold Coast, Australia: A Need for More Education

Kroon, Jeroen PhD; Cox, Julie A. BOralH; Knight, Jamelle E. BOralH; Nevins, Pia N. BOralH; Kong, William W. BOralH

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: March 2016 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 128–132
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000206
Original Research

Objective: To investigate knowledge, attitude, and awareness of appropriate mouthguard use, as well as the management of traumatic dental injuries (TDIs).

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Community survey.

Participants: Four hundred ninety-four junior rugby league players and their coaches in the Gold Coast, Australia.

Interventions: Data were collected anonymously during training sessions by means of a survey questionnaire, followed by a presentation on mouthguards and the management of TDIs.

Main Outcome Measures: Descriptive statistics on the frequency distribution of the demographic characteristics, knowledge, and use of mouthguards as well as the relationships between the type of mouthguard worn and questions related to mouthguard use.

Results: The majority of players surveyed reported wearing a mouthguard (68.2%). Cost (40.1%) and not believing that they work (35.7%) were listed as the main reasons for not doing so. The boil-and-bite type was the most used by players (64.7%). Almost 44% of coaches and 50% of players responded that only a dentist can manage an avulsed tooth, that a tooth had to be reinserted within 15 minutes (40.6% and 21.9%, respectively), and that either water or milk can be used to transport an avulsed tooth to the dentist (100% and 82.2%, respectively).

Conclusions: Education related to the correct use of mouthguards and the management of TDIs should be ongoing for players, their caregivers, and their coaches and should be required as part of the training of coaches to prevent injury in rugby league.

Clinical Relevance: This study found that although the overwhelming majority of junior rugby league coaches encourage the wearing of mouthguards, only two-thirds of the players do so. Players' compliance to wear mouthguards is largely influenced by their perception of efficacy and its comfort. Educational campaigns with involvement of dental practitioners, related to the correct use of mouthguards and the management of TDIs, should be ongoing for players, their caregivers, and their coaches and should also be required as part of the training of coaches.

Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.

*School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Menzies Health Institute of Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia; and

School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.

Corresponding Author: Jeroen Kroon, PhD, School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Queensland 4222, Australia (j.kroon@griffith.edu.au).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.cjsportmed.com).

Received May 04, 2014

Accepted December 02, 2014

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