Kempsey sporting players are being urged by the Australian Dental Association New South Wales (ADA NSW) and the NSW Waratahs to obtain a custom-made mouthguard from their dentist.
Broken jaws, fractured, cracked or dislodged teeth, cut lips and tongue wounds are among the serious injuries being sustained by Australian participants every year - injuries which could be avoided with an appropriate mouthguard.
"Sports-related injuries account for nearly 40% of dental injuries, yet only about a third of Australians wear a mouthguard when playing a contact sport," ADA NSW vice-president Dr Michael Jonas said.
"Serious dental and mouth injuries can be costly to fix, sideline you for a long time and in severe cases can also lead to a lifetime of treatment - all because you didn't wear a mouthguard.
"No matter what age you are or your expertise level, mouth guards are part of your sporting equipment."
A new study has shown that half of field hockey players sustained at least one orofacial injury, including broken or loosened teeth while playing sport.
The research also concluded that as well as providing most comfort, custom- made mouth guards protected against injuries.
"Custom-fitted mouthguards work by absorbing and spreading the impact of any damaging blows and can be fitted by a dentist," Dr Jonas said.
"Self-fitted, over-the-counter mouthguards, should not be used, one that is custom-fitted by your dentist is far superior to an over-the-counter alternative.
"If properly used, storied and checked by your dentist every year, a custom-filled mouthguard should last several seasons."
NSW Waratahs star Maya Stewart said it was vital sports participants wear an appropriate mouthguard.
"Playing a contact sport, we have to be careful with protecting our teeth, so we wear professionally-fitted mouth guards at training and in games," she said.
"Accidents can happen in all sports and no matter what level you're playing; a custom mouthguard can help prevent serious injury and keep you on the field."
More information on obtaining a custom-made mouth guard is available at: https://www.ada.org.au/your-dental-health/teens-12-17/mouthguards
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