Neomorph Mouthguards Blog

Mouthguards and Concussions: Unpacking the connection

Triple layered mouthguard

Concussions in Contact Sports: Can Mouthguards Make a Difference?

Concussions remain a prevalent concern in contact sports, leaving people confused  about whether mouthguards can offer protection against these traumatic brain injuries. While mouthguards undoubtedly play a vital role in safeguarding against dental and orofacial injuries, their ability to prevent concussions is a subject of much debate. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the relationship between mouthguards and concussions.

Understanding the nature of concussions

To comprehend why mouthguards may not be the silver bullet for preventing concussions, it’s essential to understand what causes these injuries. A concussion occurs when a forceful impact leads to the brain colliding with the inside of the skull. This collision triggers chemical changes within the brain and can stretch and damage brain cells, causing the characteristic symptoms of a concussion.

Mouthguards: Protecting teeth, not brains

While mouthguards are designed to absorb and distribute the force of an impact, reducing the risk of dental injuries, they do not possess the capacity to prevent the brain from striking the inner skull. Thus far research has shown that wearing a mouthguard provides little correlation to reducing concussions. 

The rise of sensor-equipped mouthguards

It is worth noting however, that advancements in sports technology have introduced mouthguards with embedded sensors, like the HIT IQ. These innovative mouthguards are gaining popularity for their ability to detect impact forces that potentially cause a concussion. The sensor then transmits this information to an athlete’s performance team, parents, or even the athlete themselves via an app.

While these mouthguards offer valuable insights into the force of impacts and alert responsible parties to the symptoms to be aware of after a potential traumatic incident, they do not possess the ability to prevent concussions from occurring in the first place.

In conclusion

In summary, mouthguards unquestionably play a vital role in preventing dental and orofacial injuries. However, the evidence supporting their ability to prevent concussions remains limited. Athletes should continue to prioritise wearing mouthguards for their intended purpose, which is purely to safeguard their teeth and soft tissues. To reduce the risk of concussion, athletes should focus on proper technique and safe play.

Furthermore, the emergence of mouthguards equipped with sensors represents a promising development in concussion management. These devices provide critical data for assessing the severity of impacts and can aid in the process of understanding and addressing potential concussions. While mouthguards may not be the ultimate solution for concussion prevention, they certainly contribute to the ongoing conversation surrounding athlete safety and the quest to minimise the risks associated with contact sports.

“There is no good clinical evidence that currently available protective equipment will prevent concussion although mouthguards have a definite role in preventing dental and orofacial injury.” McCrory et al.