Failure to wear a mouthguard when playing sport can significantly increase the risk of needing emergency dentistry, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Findings from research into the benefits of mouthguard protection, conducted in 2007, showed that failure to wear a shield increased the risk of injury 1.6 to 1.9 times.
While a further study into college basketball teams produced similar results with those athletes wearing mouthguards less likely to suffer dental injuries.
Matthew Messina, an ADA consumer adviser and general dentist, said: “A properly fitted mouthguard is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your mouth, cushion blows that might otherwise cause broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw.”
He added that the benefits could be seen in both contact and non-contact sports and advised that children and adults should wear a mouthguard in all practice and training sessions to prevent injury.
The American Dental Association has 157,000 dentist members and is the oldest and largest national dental society in the world having been founded in 1859.