Mouthguards have been designed with the purpose of minimising and preventing facial, head and dental injuries in sports. While there have been few studies conducted into the efficacy of mouthguard use in the prevention of concussions, it has been theorised that wearing a mouthguard can minimise or prevent head trauma. Let’s take an in-depth look at the question of ‘do mouthguards prevent concussion’.
What’s The Point Of A Mouthguard?
When it is custom-fitted, a mouthguard can provide a valuable barrier between the teeth. Known also as gum shields, mouth guards must fit snugly over the teeth to prevent them from falling out. The close fit affords the wearer maximum protection against impact to the mouth, teeth and head.
Most of the studies that have been done on mouthguard use have been retrospective and carried out on players post-injury but there is growing interest in this area, to the point where the AFL announced earlier this year that it would be conducting a study on the efficacy of smart mouthguards in the prevention of concussion.
So, Do Mouthguards Prevent Concussions?
While there may not be any conclusive evidence that mouth guards definitely prevent concussions, the theory is that they should be able to, at the very least, minimise the severity of a concussion. This is because a custom mouthguard is made up of compressed layers that absorb some of the impact to the jaw. This impact could otherwise travel up the jaw towards the top of the skull, contributing to a brain injury.
Another important consideration is the fact that through regular and consistent mouthguard use, you effectively pull the jaw forward and create a space between the skull and jaw bone.
The other benefits of mouthguards include protecting the teeth and mouth from impact and injury. By wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard correctly you may be able to avoid
- Cracked, chipped and fractured teeth
- Knocked-out teeth
- Injuries to your tongue
- Damage to your soft tissue
- Damage to your temporomandibular joint
What Can You Do To Prevent Concussions?
- Wearing a mouthguard is a good first step, but you must ensure that it is well fitted. A custom-made mouthguard offers you the best level of protection.
- You must also ensure that you wear the mouthguard correctly and that you wear it each time you play sport
- Consider wearing a helmet as well. Helmets are effective at protecting the skull and brain against injury and impact
- Educate yourself and your team members on head trauma management. Make sure that everyone involved knows how to handle a head trauma situation, including when to stop play and how to spot the symptoms of concussion.
Remember that, even though protective gear and mouthguard use offers some level of protection, head injuries may still occur and need to be handled accordingly.
If you still have questions about ‘do mouthguards prevent concussions’ or would like to have a fitting for a custom mouthguard, please reach out to us for a convenient appointment: