Attitudinal factors influencing mouthguard utilization

Dent Clin North Am. 2000 Jan;44(1):53-65.


From the introduction of a protective mouthpiece in the sport of boxing, the evidence for the importance of this piece of athletic equipment in injury prevention has grown. Yet, despite this knowledge, only five amateur sports and one professional sport have regulations requiring the use of mouthguards. Even in the sports that require their use, compliance is not universal. Attitudes of coaches, officials, parents, and players about wearing mouthguards all influence their usage. Studies of the attitudes of these groups reveal that coaches are perceived as the individuals with the most impact on whether or not players wear mouthguards. There is reluctance among college football officials to enforce mouthguard violations that they believe are inappropriate. Parents see themselves as having responsibility in determining mouthguard use; however, their views about when and for whom mouthguards are necessary reveal a lack of complete understanding of the benefits. Resistance on the part of players stems from the physical characteristics of the mouthguard, interference with breathing and speech, and the effect on the players' image. Education on the effectiveness of properly fitted mouthguards for injury prevention, information on the risk for injury, availability of more comfortable and appealing mouthguards, and development of an approach for expanding regulations are all tools that can lead to the development of more positive attitudes and increased usage.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Equipment Design
  • Football / injuries
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mouth / injuries
  • Mouth Protectors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Respiration
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Speech
  • Sports*
  • Tooth Injuries / prevention & control