Individuals who used an over-the-counter mouthguard, compared to a custom fit mouthguard that was fashioned by a dentist, were ?twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injures (MTBI)/concussions,? according to a Dental Tribune article.
?Researchers and, most importantly, parents, are looking for ways to better protect children against concussions,? said lead author Jackson Winters, DDS. ?Consumers may believe that today?s advanced helmet design provides sufficient protection, but our research indicates that, when compared to over-the-counter versions, a custom-made, properly fitted mouthguard also is essential to player safety.?
The study tracked more than 400 high school football players, some who were wearing over-the-counter pieces while others had custom mouthguards.
?According to the study, 8.3% of athletes in the OTC mouthguard group suffered MTBI/concussion injuries. For those with custom-made mouthguards, however, the rate was only 3.6%. Many variables contribute to MTBI/concussion injuries, and mouthguards?whose primary function is protecting the teeth?cannot completely prevent them from occurring. Previous studies have theorized that mouthguards can reduce concussion risk, however, because they help absorb shock, stabilize the head and neck, and limit movement caused by a direct hit to the jaw.?
Custom mouthguards are thicker, providing more protection to the athlete during physical competition. Mouthguards that aren?t custom fit could provide less comfort, making the athlete chew on the material and reduce the effectiveness.