The use of mouthguards in athletics has significantly reduced accidental fracturing of teeth, reduced morbidity of many orofacial injuries and even possibly lessening the number of concussions. Mouthguards were first mandated for boxing in the 1920s. By the 1960s, their use became mandatory for high school and college football.
Mouthguards are currently made with polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane. They can be custom made by a dentist or at home with the “boil and bite” variety. The NCAA currently requires mouthguard use in four sports: ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse and football. The American Dental Association recommends mouthguards for 29 sports. Studies have shown that the frequency of orofacial injuries and fractured teeth in individuals who do not wear a mouthguard is from 1.6 to almost 2 times higher. As far as concussion prevention, the studies are inconclusive because concussions can happen without a blow to the jaw. However, it would be very logical to think that the cushioning effect of a mouthguard could reduce the number of concussions involving mouth trauma.