Orofacial injuries and mouth guard use in elite commando fighters.
- PubMed: 19149336
The incidence, etiology, and consequences of orofacial injuries during service were evaluated among active duty elite commando fighters in the Israel Defense Forces. Male fighters (N = 280) were interviewed. Orofacial injuries were reported by 76 (27.1%) participants, with tooth injuries as the most common: 40 (52.6%) suffered from dental fracture and 6 (7.9%) from subluxation/luxation. Overall incidence was 85.5 cases per 1,000 fighter-years. Most injuries occurred in an isolated training or operational field. Overall, 162 participants (57.9%) received a boil-and-bite mouth guard during recruitment, but only 49 (30.2%) used it regularly during training and sport activities. The prevalence of injuries among fighters who reported regular mouth guard use was smaller than among fighters who reported of no regular use (20.4% vs. 28.6%, respectively; p < 0.001). Commando fighters are highly predisposed to dental trauma, resulting in the interference of their continuous daily activity. Military health care professionals and commanders should promote mouth protection devices for high-risk populations.