‘No Gum-shield, No Game’

Following the GAA’s Annual Congress in April 2012 a new rule was enacted that made it mandatory to use a mouthguard in all Gaelic football matches and training sessions from January 1st 2013 (for all age grades up to and including minor) and at U21 and Adult level from January 1st 2014.

ALL players (underage & senior) will have to wear mouthguards from 1st January as part of the GAA’s concerted attempt to cut down on facial injuries. As part of the incentives to make players adapt quickly to the new ‘no gumshield, no game‘ rule, players will be sent off if they do not wear one. And, significantly, players who are not wearing one will not be covered by the official players’ injury insurance scheme.



There are three types of mouth guards:

Stock mouthguards are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can generally be purchased in sports shops for in or around €5 each. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, can make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide limited protection. Dentists do not recommend their use, nonetheless, once they carry the CE (European Conformity) mark they are acceptable in terms of complying with the new GAA Rule.

Boil and bite mouthguards can also be bought over the counter at most Sports Shops and generally offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. The “boil and bite” mouthguard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure. Dentists do not recommend their use in general. Typically these type of mouthguards will cost in the region of €15 to €20 and again any mouthguard with the CE mark on it in this category is sufficient to ensure compliance with the new rule.

Custom-fitted mouthguards are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions. These will not just offer the best protection against dental and oral injury but they should not affect performance i.e. breathing and speech should be relatively unaffected particularly if these have been worn regularly. First, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouthguard is then moulded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouthguard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and protection.

Prices can vary significantly and it is worth seeking and comparing prices from a number of practitioners before deciding to purchase. Typically a custom fitted mouthguard should cost between €60 and €120. However, many dental practices offer significant reductions to GAA Clubs who are ordering in bulk. GAA Clubs can generally liaise with dental centres and clinics to arrange for someone to visit the Club on a given day to take dental impressions from a number of players. Custom fitted mouthguards purchased in bulk in this manner should cost around €30 to €50 each.