Choosing a mouthguard for your child (or yourself) can affect the odds of them suffering a brain injury or concussion in a contact sport situation.
American researchers from the Academy of General Dentistry conducted a study in mid-2014. The study set out to compare the levels of protection offered by custom-made mouthguards and standard over-the-counter (OTC) mouthguards. The purpose of the study was to research ways to better protect children from concussions.
For the study, both types of mouthguards were randomly assigned to 412 high-school football players to wear during games. All players wore a standard football helmet.
The study results
Previous research has shown that there are many variables that contribute to MTBI/concussion injuries – and mouthguards cannot prevent them all from happening. But mouthguards can help absorb shock and stabilize the head and neck, by limiting movement caused by a blow or trauma.
After the test period, the researchers found that 3.6% of the custom-made mouthguard group had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or concussion. On the other hand, the OTC mouthguard group had more than double that rate at 8.3%.
The U.S. study showed that mouthguard thickness was a factor that contributed to protection. While the custom-made mouthguards were 3.5 mm thick, the OTC mouthguards were only 1.65 mm thick on average.
Having a perfectly-fitted mouthguard was an important factor also. If a person wears an uncomfortable mouthguard, than they are more likely to chew it. This action could reduce the mouthguard’s thickness and level of protection.
Dr. Jackson Winters, lead author of the study, advises,” Although more research on this topic is needed, our study shows the value of a custom-made mouthguard. The benefits of protecting your child far outweigh the costs associated with a dental or medical injury, which is likelier to occur with a store-bought model”
For a custom-made mouthguard for your child, give us a call and book an appointment.
(Study: “Custom-Made Mouthguards Outperform Store-Bought Models
in Reducing Athletes’ Risk of Concussion”, Academy of General Dentistry, 312.440.4974, firstname.lastname@example.org)