Title: Sports-related dental injuries: knowledge of first aid and mouthguard use in a sample of Italian children and youngsters
Abstract: Aim The purpose of this study was to evaluate the awareness of sports as risk factor of dental injuries, the emergency management when a tooth avulsion occurs and the compliance about mouthguards.
Methods Two hundred children and youngsters 8- to 15-year-old (147 boys and 53 girls) attending Sports Societies in Isernia, a town in Southern Italy, participated to the investigation. The sports involved were soccer, martial arts, tennis, swimming, volleyball, basketball and cycling. The questionnaire was structured into three parts: 1) questions about age, sex, type and time of sports practice; 2) questions about dental injuries, particularly personal experience, awareness of first aid and procedure about tooth avulsion; 3) questions about knowledge and use of mouthguards.
Results Sixty-five per cent of the athletes were aware of the possibility of oral injuries during sports practice and 8.5% referred an experience of dental trauma; 71.5% of the participants think that the immediate management of dental injuries by a dentist is very important to increase the rate of success; 31% know that the avulsed tooth may be reimplanted: 33.9% would reimplant the tooth within an hour and 62.9% would keep it in a wet storage medium. Finally, 80.5% of the athletes knew about mouthguards as protective devices, but only 5% actually used them; eight out of ten were provided by the dentist.
Conclusion Educational programs organized by the sports dentistry community are needed to inform coaches, teachers, athletes and parents about dental injuries and to promote the mouthguards use, especially in contact sports practice.