THE GAA should enforce a "no mouthguard, no play" rule for juvenile players, for whom wearing one is now mandatory, dentists have warned, writes Eilish O'Regan.
The rule, which came into force from the beginning of this month, needs to be strictly enforced, said Irish Dental Association president Dr Andrew Bolas.
"I was concerned at reports that several college footballers were playing without mouthguards in Munster and Leinster games last week," he said.
"Strict enforcement from the start is key as we have seen from the success of the 'no mouthguard, no play' approach adopted by other codes."
The GAA has issued a new public information document giving advice on how to obtain and use mouthguards.
"Some injuries to teeth from a clash of heads or a stray elbow can be quite horrific, with teeth broken, displaced or completely knocked out," Dr Bolas said.
"While customised mouthguards are more expensive initially, they do provide the best comfort and protection and could well prove much cheaper in the long run."
Dentists are being urged to put the GAA document in a prominent location in their surgeries. For more information, see www.dentist.ie