Research Shows Mouthguards Prevent Concussion
Everyone knows that it makes sense to wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports. Mouthguards have been proven to protect the mouth, teeth, and lips from serious injuries, and wearing a mouthguard has become a requirement of many sports, from football and basketball to martial arts. But did you know that mouthguards that have been custom-fit have also been demonstrated to reduce the risk of concussion?
A study published by the Academy of General Dentistry of over 400 high school American football players examined the impact of wearing a mouthguard on players’ chances of sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion. The research focused on football players, as the collision sport has been shown to be the cause of more casualties than any other high school sport.
Although the players examined in the study all wore the same type of helmet, they were randomly assigned to wear one of three types of mouthguard:
- A prefabricated over the counter mouthguard
- A “boil and bite” mouthguard, which shapes itself to a player’s teeth when warmed in hot water and then bitten
- A custom mouthguard made by a dental professional from an impression of the player’s teeth.
Of the 412 players studied, 23 sustained concussion injuries, with one player being concussed twice during the season. Having tallied the concussions, the research team then examined which type of mouthguard the injured players had been wearing at the time of the injury.
The results were startling. The study identified that concussion injury occurred in players wearing over-the-counter and boil and bite mouthguards at a ratio of 2 to 1 times that of those wearing custom-fit mouthguards. While the researchers admit that merely wearing a mouthguard will not prevent all types of concussion injuries, the evidence clearly shows that a custom-fit device will significantly reduce the risk of sustaining many forms of a concussion.
Of over-the-counter and boil and bite forms of a mouthguard, the boiled version came out tops. Because over-the-counter mouthguards are not fitted around a player’s teeth, they can result in injury as they shift out of position. Prefabricated mouthguards are also prone to causing discomfort, causing many players to just remove them during a game or cut off the rear part of the mouthguard, rendering it less effective.
In contrast, boil and bite mouthguards do shape themselves to a player’s mouth, providing a far more snug and comfortable fit, so that players are more likely to leave them in place, benefitting from the protection they offer.
With the correct equipment players are free to enjoy all that sport has to offer. Given the serious repercussions of a concussion, wearing a mouthguard makes perfect sense.
Get Fitted Today By A Dental Professional
Dr. Paul R. Feldman at Suburban Essex Dental located in West Orange, in northern New Jersey can provide your child with the perfect sports mouthguards with the ideal fit to keep their mouths safe.
Contact Suburban Essex Dental and get fitted today!