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New Study Reveals Mouthguards are Protective, but can Cause Harm
Date:8/26/2009

Study finds athletic mouthguards may cause oral lesions and disease

Rosemont, IL (Vocus) August 26, 2009 -- Although commonly used to protect an athlete's teeth during contact sports, mouthguards are now being questioned for their potential to injure a player's mouth. A new study published in the September/October issue of Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach found that mouthguards may increase the number and intensity of mouth cuts and abrasions, exposing an athlete to an increased chance of infection due to the bacteria, yeast, and fungi that mouthguards routinely collect.

Sixty-two collegiate football players' mouths were examined pre-season and post-season. The players selected their own mouthguards, either a "boil and bite" device or a custom-made device. At pre-season testing, 75 percent of the players had oral lesions located in three different areas of the mouth (gums, cheek, and roof of mouth). By the end of the season, 96 percent of the participants had oral lesions not only in the same three areas of the mouth, but also on the tongue.

"We saw not only an overall increase in the number of lesions, but also a wider distribution," explains author Richard T. Glass, DDS, PhD and professor at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. "While there might be other contributing factors to the oral lesions, the percentage increase and the specific locations of the oral lesions, compared with other studies done of the general population, indicated that mouthguards have a significant negative impact on the mouth."

Researchers stress that even with the increase in oral lesions, mouthguards are still an important piece of safety equipment for contact sports. "
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Source: PRWeb
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