Why mouthguards matter
in Gaelic Football
Gaelic Football is the most popular sport in Ireland.
It’s known for being fast, physical, and intense – all reasons for players to keep themselves protected with the right mouthguard.
between 2011 and 2016 for injuries involving teeth after mouthguards became mandatory for all players.
of Gaelic football players use boil-and-bite mouthguards from the various types available.
of parents surveyed said ‘yes’ when asked if mouthguards reduced the risk of dental injury compared to 64% surveyed in 2011.
Which Makura mouthguard is best for Gaelic Football?
Unfortunately the answer to this question isn’t always straight forward because, at the end of the day, the right mouthguard is the one that fits you best. That being said, there are some characteristics you should look out for when choosing a Gaelic football mouthguard.
A properly fitted mouthguard keeps wearers both comfortable and safe. It should remain securely in place (no clenching required to hold it) even if you jostle it a bit with your tongue, and it shouldn’t make you gag, prevent you from speaking, or inhibit breathing in any way.
All Makura mouthguards are fully CE certified and have achieved Level 2 and Level 3 Impact Resistance. Our BOIL & BITE™ TEPHRA MAX™ is Level 3 Impact Resistant, the highest level achievable for mouth-adapted mouthguards. Our braces compatible LITHOS™ is Level 2 Impact Resistant, the highest attainable for ready-made mouthguards.
Look for attributes like gel-based and flexible liners as well as shock absorbing outers that are suited to the game you play and how you play it. If you have braces, make sure you choose a braces-compatible mouthguard to keep both you and your braces safe from harm.
A brief history of mouthguards in Gaelic Football
Mouthguards have been used since the 1950s in sports like American football, but their widespread use in Gaelic football is still relatively new.
The decisive year for the sport was 2012. During the Annual Conference of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), a new rule was passed that made it mandatory for all Gaelic football players to wear a mouthguard during matches and training sessions. The regulation came into effect on the 1 January, 2013 for all players in the minor leagues and below and the 1 January, 2014 for all U21 and adult players.
There were a number of factors that prompted the GAA to enact and enforce this change. Research had clearly shown that Ireland was plagued by one of the highest rates of sports caused oral injuries throughout Europe. One-third of all dental traumas suffered by adults stemmed from sports and over 50% of all injuries in Gaelic football affected players teeth.
Among children, the cost associated with treating dental injuries averaged around £180/€214, and not wearing a mouthguard doubled their risk of being injured while playing sports.
Put simply, dental injuries were becoming too commonplace, too expensive, and too detrimental to the health and wellbeing of Gaelic football players.
Perhaps one of the reasons the new rule has such a widespread impact was that in the wake of the GAA's decision, schools and clubs began to follow suit and enforce mouthguard use on a more consistent basis. In 2011, parents reported only 2% of schools and 10% of clubs had policies that required the use of mouthguards. In 2016, those figures had risen to 51% and 63%, respectively. The report's authors also found that the GAA's decision had a trickle-down effect on other sports like hurling and camogie, which each saw mouthguard use increase by 36% between 2011 and 2016.
Gaelic football has made great strides in the last decade, but there is still more work to be done to achieve 100% compliance. Associations, clubs, and healthcare providers need to continue adopting policies surrounding mouthguards and promoting their use, while parents and athletes should keep educating themselves about the difference wearing a mouthguard can make.