Gaelic football is the sport dentists believe results in the most dental injuries among children, according to a new survey.

Some 45% of respondents said they believed football caused the most dental injuries, with hurling and rugby in joint second on 33%.

IDA figures indicate that Ireland has one of the highest rates of sport-related oral injuries in the EU, with one-third of all adult dental injuries being sports related. Gum shields became mandatory for juveniles playing Gaelic football last year and became compulsory for adult players on January 1. In something of a surprise, cycling was in third place ahead of both soccer and hockey.

Over 130 dentists from all over the country took part in the survey. IDA President Dr Seán Malone said the findings showed the importance of wearing a gum shield or helmet when participating in sports.

“We welcomed the GAA’s gum shield rule when it was introduced, but it’s important that it is now strictly enforced. The rule in every club for juveniles and adults should be the same – ‘no gum shield, no game’. Given these figures, the IDA believes the gum shield rule should also apply to hurling, and we hope the GAA will introduce a similar measure for that sport in the near future,” he said.