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.

Rates of injuries involving teeth decreased by

%

between 2011 and 2016 after mouthguards became mandatory for all players.
Of the various mouthguard types available,

%

of Gaelic football players use boil-and-bite mouthguards.
Asked if mouthguards reduce risk of dental injury

%

of parents surveyed said ‘yes’ in 2016, compared with only 64% giving the same answer in 2011.

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A Brief History of Mouthguards in Gaelic Football

Making Mouthguards Mandatory for Gaelic Football Players

 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.

How Many School-Aged Gaelic Football Players Wear Mouthguards?

  • 2011 16% 16%
  • 2016 87% 87%

What Percentage of Injuries Affect the Teeth?

  • 2011 51% 51%
  • 2016 15% 15%

Will Wearing a Mouthguard Reduce Risk of a Dental Injury?

  • 2011 68% 68%
  • 2016 84% 84%

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.

Remember: whatever your sport—no matter your level or how often you play—a mouthguard is always the right move when it comes to protecting your mouth and teeth from contact-related injuries.

Which Makura Mouthguard Is Best for Gaelic Football Players?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t always straightforward because, at the end of the day, the right mouthguard is the one that fits you the best.

That being said, there are certain characteristics you can keep an eye out for when choosing a Gaelic football mouthguard:

Fit

A properly fitted mouthguard keeps wearers comfortable and safe.

 It shouldn’t inhibit your breathing or speech in any way, nor should it make you gag. It should remain securely in place (no clenching required to hold it) even if you jostle it a bit with your tongue.

Certification

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, and our braces-compatible LITHOS™ is Level 2 Impact Resistant, the highest attainable for ready-made mouthguards.

Features

Look for things like gel-based and flexible liners, shock-absorbing outers, and more 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.

Compare Makura Mouthguards

TEPHRA MAX™

  • Boasts the highest level of impact resistance (Level 3) attainable for mouth-adapted mouthguards.
  • Features a SHOKBLOKER™ outer, FLEXICORE™ inner, and GELFORM™ liner for unparalleled shock absorption and comfort.
  • CE approved and certified.
  • Available in one size (senior for ages 11 and over) and three colour combinations.
IGNIS™

  • Is Level 2 impact resistant.
  • Features a SHOKBLOKER™ outer and GELFORM™ liner for maximum protection.
  • Comes with a strap you can use to attach your mouthguard to your helmet.
  • CE approved and certified.
  • Available in two sizes—senior (ages 11 and over) and junior (ages 10 and under)—and three colour combinations.
LITHOS™

  • Is Level 2 impact resistant, the highest achievable for ready-made mouthguards.
  • The ORTHO Channel fits over fixed braces for a secure fit.
  • Features a SHOKBLOKER™ body for maximum shock absorption and SLIPSAFE pads that prevent it from slipping while the jaw is closed.
  • CE approved and certified.
  • Available in one size (senior for ages 11 and over) and two colour combinations.
TOKA™

  • The TOKA PRO™ is Level 2 Impact Resistant.
  • The SHOKBLOKER™ outer keeps players safe, while the BOIL & BITE™ fit ensures uncompromised comfort.
  • CE approved and certified.
  • Available in two sizes—senior (ages 11 and over) and junior (ages 10 and under)—and six colour combinations.
KYRO PRO™ 

  • Available in strapped and strapless versions.
  • Made with a tough SHOKBLOKER™ outer, AIRTHRU channel, and SLIPSAFE pads.
  • Available in two sizes—junior (ages 10 and under) and senior (ages 11 and over)—and two colours, clear and black.
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