Mouthguards for the Prevention of Orofacial Injuries in Military and Sports Activities: Part 1: History of Mouthguard Use


Knapik JJ, Hoedebecke BL, Mitchener TA 20(2). 139 - 143 (Journal Article)

This is the first of a two-part series on the history and effectiveness of mouthguards (MGs) for orofacial injury protection. Military studies have shown that approximately 60% of orofacial injuries are associated with military training activities and 20% to 30% with sports. MGs are hypothesized to reduce orofacial injuries by separating the upper and lower dentation, preventing tooth fractures, redistributing and absorbing the force of direct blows to the mouth, and separating teeth from soft tissue, preventing lacerations and bruises. In 1975, CPT Leonard Barber was the first to advocate MGs for military sports activities. In 1998, Army health promotion campaigns promoted MG education and fabrication. A US Army basic training study in 2000-2003 showed that more MG use could reduce orofacial injuries and the Army Training and Doctrine Command subsequently required that basic trainees be issued and use MGs. Army Regulation 600-63 currently directs commanders to enforce MG use during training and sports activities that could involve orofacial injuries. In the civilian sector, MGs were first used by boxers and then were required for football. MGs are currently required nationally for high school and college football, field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse, and are recommended for 29 sport and exercise activities.

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