The Irish Dental Association has issued new guidelines on the use of mouthguards and urged gaelic football referees and coaches to strictly enforce new rules on their mandatory use by juvenile players.

From January 1, 2013, it is compulsory for juvenile gaelic footballers to wear mouthguards in football games and training.

A total of 180 dentists from all round the country attended the recent IDA Practice Management Seminar at Croke Park and approved a public information document, which sets out the key points on mouthguards.

Speaking at the seminar, Association President Dr Andrew Bolas said he was concerned at reports that several college footballers were playing without mouthguards in Munster and Leinster games last week.

“Previously we had urged the GAA to bring in this rule and we warmly welcomed it when it was introduced. However, 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 from under six right up to minor/u18 level,” Dr Bolas said.

The new guide urges all those involved in organised sporting activities, from players to coaches to managers, to be aware of how to deal with unexpected dental trauma as immediate attention is required to maximise the successful outcome of any dental injury. The Association says members will be encouraged to place the document in a prominent position in their surgeries. The document is also available at www.dentist.ie.