Sport activities often increase the risk of traumatic injuries to dental and oral tissues. These injuries are reported to be most prominent in soccer, basketball, hockey, and boxing. Hence the use of a mouthguard is popular.
The results of our study indicate that boxers were aware of using mouthguards, but dentists and sports authorities in many countries should promote the use of mouthguards in contact sports, which present a considerable risk for dental hard and soft tissue trauma and tooth loss.
Dentists and sports authorities should promote the use of mouthguards in martial arts and also other amateur sports, which have a risk for trauma. Education on the effectiveness of adequately fitted mouthguards for injury prevention, information on the risk of injury, and availability of more comfort can lead to the development of more positive attitudes and increase its usage.
Dental injuries are the most prevalent type of orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports, and the majority of these dental injuries are preventable if a professionally-fitted (custom) mouthguard is used. Dental injuries can occur in either contact or non-contact games but, since the risks are far more significant in the contact sports, mouthguards are usually only recommended for contact sports participation.
Mouthguards were first developed about seventy years ago for use in boxing; they were pieces of rubber cut to the basic shape of the upper arch and held in place by clenching the teeth together.
This type of mouthguard is represented today by the stock mouthguard that can be bought at most sport stores and pharmacies and is used without any form of individual adaptation.’ Since the teeth have to be clenched to maintain it in position, there is the almost complete elimination of oral airflow which, as has been shown, is crucial at increasing levels of physical exertion. This is especially true for football mouthguards.
Also, because of the lack of individual adaptation, the mouthguard is loose fitting and easily displaced by an impact. Further, if the wearer is rendered unconscious, there is a significant risk of the mouthguard being dislodged into the oropharynx causing an acute airway obstruction.