A mouth guard is a soft plastic or laminated device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce oral injuries.
Despite some successful marketing techniques of mouthguard companies, one of the most important things they can't do is protect against concussions.
After analyzing the two most refered mouth guard concussion studies1, the issue is that they are non-conclusive. The studies do not prove a decrease in concussions or brain trauma, they simply point toward a possible decrease in force transfer between the upper and lower jaw. However, a new litterature review from the British Journal of Sports Medicines, noted that athletes wearing mouth guards experienced less severe concussions than those not wearing a mouthguard. The subject remains a debate.
Without the use a of mouthguard, dental injuries such as chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, root damage to the teeth and fractured jaws can occur. Any athlete may be at risk for oral injury and any injury can be prevented with the use of a mouth guard.
Mouth guards are mandatory in contact sports such as football, hockey and boxing, and are also commonly used in sports like basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling and soccer. Depending on the application, they may also be called a mouthpiece, gumshield, mouth protector, lip guard, binky or gum guard.
A mouth guard is essential for all athletes regardless of the level or age. For more information about the right mouth guard for you, consult our section "How to choose the right mouth guard".
1. Gurdjian, 1961, E.S. "Intracranial pressures and acceleration accompanying head impacts in human cadavers". (others)Surg Gynec Obstet.
2. John M. Stenger, 1964, "Mouthguards Protection Against Shock to Head Neck and Teeth".