Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A review of mouthguards: effectiveness, types, characteristics and indications for use

Key Points

  • Informs clinicians about risks of dental trauma during sport and the effectiveness of mouthguards.

  • Details the different types of mouthguard available.

  • Explains the characteristics of the different types mouthguard and the indications for their use.

  • Explains possible barriers to mouthguard use.

Abstract

Participation in sport carries an increased risk of sustaining dental trauma which can be reduced by the use of a mouthguard. Mouthguards work by dissipating the force of impact, thus reducing the force which is transferred to the dentition. There are different types of mouthguard available which vary in design, costs and the level of protection provided. This article aims to review the use of mouthguards in sport, the common barriers to their use and also the different types of mouthguards and their characteristics.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5

References

  1. 1

    Newsome P R, Tran D C, Cooke M S . The role of the mouthguard in the prevention of sports-related dental injuries: a review. Int J Paediatr Dent 2001; 11: 396–404.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Dua R, Sharma S . Prevalence, causes, and correlates of traumatic dental injuries among seventotwelveyearold school children in Dera Bassi. Contemp Clin Dent 2012; 3: 38–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Bastone E B, Freer T J, McNamara J R . Epidemiology of dental trauma: A review of the Literature. Aust Dent J 2000; 45: 2–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Dorney B . Dental screening for rugby players in New South Wales, Australia. FDI World 1998; 7: 10–13.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Gassner R, Bosch R, Tuli T, Emshoff R . Prevalence of dental trauma in 6: 000 patients with facial injuries: implications for prevention. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 1999; 87: 27–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Oral Health Foundation. Website. Available at https://www.dentalhealth.org (accessed July 2015).

  7. 7

    American Dental Association Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations; ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. Using mouthguards to reduce the incidence of sports-related oral injuries. J Am Dent Assoc 2006; 137: 1712–1720.

  8. 8

    Rugby Football Union. Online information available at http://www.englandrugby.com (accessed July 2015).

  9. 9

    Federation of International Lacrosse. 2012 Referees' Manual. Available at http://filacrosse.com/ (accessed August 2015).

  10. 10

    Medical Aspects of Amateur Boxing. The Medical Commission of The Amateur boxing Association of England Limited. 2006.

  11. 11

    England Hockey League. Website. Available at http://rules.englandhockey.co.uk (accessed July 2015).

  12. 12

    Knapik J J, Marshall S W, Lee R B et al. Mouthguards in sport activities: history, physical properties and injury prevention effectiveness. Sports Med 2007; 37: 117–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Court Summary of Judgement. Judicial Communications Officer. 2016. Available at https://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/Judicial%20Decisions/SummaryJudgments/Documents/Court%20finds%20school%20policy%20on%20wearing%20of%20mouth%20guards%20for%20hockey%20met%20appropriate%20standard%20of%20care/j_j_Summary%20of%20judgment%20-%20Murray%20v%20Trustees%20of%20Rainey%20Endowed%20School%208%20Jun%2016.htm (accessed January 2017).

  14. 14

    Cohen A, Borish A . Mouth protector project for football players in Philadelphia high schools. J Am Dent Assoc 1958; 56: 863–864.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Cathcart J . Mouth protection for contact sports. Dental Dig 1958; 64: 338–341.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Hoffmann J, Alfter G, Rudolph N, Goz G . Experimental comparative study of various mouthguards. Endod Dent Traumatol 1999; 15: 157–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Winters J, DeMont R . Role of mouthguards in reducing mild traumatic brain injury/concussion incidence in high school football athletes. Gen Dent 2014; 62: 34–38.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Benson B W, Hamilton G M, Meeuwisse W H, McCrory P, Dvorak J . Is protective equipment useful in preventing concussion? A systematic review of the literature. Br J Sport Med 2009; 43: 56–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Mihalik J P, McCaffrey M A, Rivera E M et al. Effectiveness of mouthguards in reducing neurocognitive deficits following sports-related cerebral concussion. Dent Traumatol 2007; 23: 14–20.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    McCrory P, Meeuwisse W H, Aubry M et al. Consensus statement on concussion in sport: The 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Zurich, November 2012. Br J Sports Med 2013; 47: 250–258.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    British Orthodontic Society. Mouthguards Advice Sheet. 2012. Available at http://www.bos.org.uk/MembersAdviceSheets (accessed July 2015).

  22. 22

    Maeda Y, Kumamoto D, Yagi K, Ikebe K . Effectiveness and fabrication of mouthguards. Dent Traumatol 2009; 25: 556–564.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Scott J, Burke F, Watts D . A review of dental injuries and the use of mouthguards in contact team sports. Br Dent J 1994; 176: 310–314.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    McCarthy M F . Sports and mouth protection. Gen Dent 1990; 38: 343–346.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Holmes C . Mouth protection in Scotland – a review. Br Dent J 2000; 188: 473–474.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Love R, Shane C . Sport-related dental injury claims to the New Zealand accidental rehabilitation and compensation insurance corporation 1993–96. N Z Dent J 1994; 94: 146–149.

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Nguygen Q V, Bezemer P D, Habets L, Prahl-Andersen B. A systematic review of the relationship between overjet size and traumatic dental injuries. Eur J Orthod 1999; 21: 503–515.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Croll T, Castaldi C . The custom-fitted athletic mouthguard for the orthodontic patient and for the child with a mixed dentition. Quintessence Int 1989; 20: 571–575.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. 29

    Westerman B, Stringfellow P M, Eccleston J A . EVA mouthguards: how thick should they be? Dent Traumatol 2002; 18: 24–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30

    Deyoung A, Robinson E, Godwin W . Comparing comfort and wearability: custom-made vs. self-adapted mouthguards. J Am Dent Assoc 1994; 125: 1112–1117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31

    Kuebker W, Morrow R . Do mouth-formed mouthguards meet the NCAA rules? Phys Sportsmed 1986; 14: 69–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32

    Winters J, Demont R . Role of mouthguards in reducing mild traumatic brain injury/concussion incidence in high school football athletes. J Acad Gen Dent 2014; 62: 34–38.

    Google Scholar 

  33. 33

    Upson N . Mouthguards an evaluation of two types for rugby players. Br J Sports Med 1985; 19: 89–92.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34

    Padilla R, Dorney B . Prevention of oral injuries. J Calif Dent Assoc 1996; 24: 30–36.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. 35

    Maestrello-de Moya M G, Primrosch R E . Orofacial trauma and mouth-protector wear among high school varsity basketball players. ASDC J Dent Child 1989; 56: 36–39.

    Google Scholar 

  36. 36

    Ranalli D, Lancaster D . Attitudes of college football coaches regarding NCAA mouthguard regulations and player compliance. J Public Health Dent 1995; 55: 139–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37

    Diab N, Mourino A . Parental attitudes towards mouthguards. Paediatr Dent 1997; 19: 455–460.

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38

    Parker K, Marlow B, Patel N, Gill D . An audit on the use of mouthguards in orthodontic patients before treatment. BOS Clinical Effectiveness Bulletin 2016; 36: 14–16.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to D. S. Gill.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Parker, K., Marlow, B., Patel, N. et al. A review of mouthguards: effectiveness, types, characteristics and indications for use. Br Dent J 222, 629–633 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.365

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links