To investigate knowledge, attitude, and awareness of appropriate mouthguard use, as well as the management of traumatic dental injuries (TDIs).
Four hundred ninety-four junior rugby league players and their coaches in the Gold Coast, Australia.
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.
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).
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.
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.