Aim and objective: The present cross-sectional survey was conducted to assess the prevalence and the type of dental injury along with the awareness and use of mouthguards among the athletes of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Materials and methods: This questionnaire-based survey included four major sports clubs in Riyadh city (AlHilal, AlNassr, AlShabab, AlRiyadh), Saudi Arabia where 300 questionnaires were distributed. Participants who engaged in direct, indirect, and no/minimal contact sports such as taekwondo, soccer, and volleyball, respectively were explained about the importance of the study and its significance. The questionnaire was divided into three parts covering the demographic details, sports-related injury, mouthguard awareness, and its use. Data from completely filled questionnaire were collected, tabulated, and analyzed. Descriptive statistics and Pearson Chi-square tests were considered for statistical analysis.
Result: A total of 234 athletes (104 football/soccer, 57 volleyball, and 73 taekwondo) participated in the study with a response rate of 78%. Taekwondo and football athletes experienced more dental trauma than volleyball players. Dental trauma was highest in taekwondo (56.2%), followed by football (52.9%) and volleyball (31.6%) athletes. Crown fractures (43.6%) were the most common dental injury reported followed by mobility (18%). Taekwondo athletes were better aware regarding mouthguard (83.6%) and used it during practice (43.8%) when compared to football and volleyball athletes.
Conclusion: It was observed that athletes of direct and indirect contact sports (taekwondo and soccer) were at greater risk of dental trauma thereby emphasizing the importance of prevention strategies. Though a significant proportion of athletes were aware of mouthguard, its types, and its role in the prevention of dental trauma, only a handful of them regularly used it.
Clinical significance: Sport-related dental injuries though prevalent among athletes, measures to curb them are limited. These injuries may directly or indirectly hamper the performance of the player and affect their career. Therefore, combined efforts from dentist, coach, and sport physician are required to educate, enhance awareness, and encourage the use of mouthguards in contact sports.
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