Mouthguard usage by middle and high school student-athletes in Houston, Texas

Gen Dent. 2016 Sep-Oct;64(5):35-8.

Abstract

This survey recorded utilization levels of stock and custom mouthguards among middle and high school athletes in a US metropolitan area and gathered data on the prevalence of traumatic injuries that have occurred as a consequence of school-based athletic competition. The data also included reasons for the athletes' noncompliance. A 23-question, online survey form was developed. A geographically diverse list of public and private schools in the Houston metropolitan area was identified and included 30 public middle schools, 32 public high schools, 8 private middle schools, and 10 private high schools. The sports surveyed were baseball, basketball, field hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, volleyball, and wrestling. Only 1 private middle school participated. Only 5 of 32 public high schools and 1 private high school participated, representing response rates of 16% and 10%, respectively. Overall, there were 503 responses, and 56% of the respondents did not have a mouthguard. Among athletes who owned a mouthguard, most (70%) had stock versions purchased in a retail store, while 11% had a custom mouthguard fabricated by a dentist, and 19% had both types. The most frequent reasons cited for not wearing a mouthguard were forgetting to use it and a lack of comfort. The injury rates reported by respondents in the stock and custom mouthguard groups were 26% and 9%, respectively. A consistent, concerted effort by local dental societies should be aimed at school administrators and coaches to encourage enforcement or reinforcement of mouthguard usage policies among high school athletes, but, ultimately, parents need to step up to protect their children.

Keywords: mouthguard; student-athlete.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Mouth Protectors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas