Effects of custom-fitted jaw-repositioning mouthguards on posture and balance in competitive athletes
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Kinesiology
Mouthguards have been typically used in sport as teeth protecting oral devices that can reduce the risk of orofacial and dental injuries. These mouthguards often employ a simplistic design that merely covers the teeth and does not mold properly to the athlete's jaw. However, recent exploration into sports dentistry has shown that mouthguards can act as an ergogenic aid, when designed properly. Studies have found that aerobic and anaerobic performance as well as muscular strength can be improved by the addition a custom-fitted jaw-repositioning mouthguard (CJM). These improvements are attributed to various mechanisms, all brought on by the specific design of the oral device. Further research into this topic has demonstrated that CJMs can also alter posture and balance in a positive manner. As posture and balance are cornerstones of athletic performance, it is possible that the enhancement of these attributes could increase overall performance in sport. Furthermore, greater postural control and balance ability has been linked to a reduced risk of injury during training and sport participation. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the effects of a CJM on posture and balance and investigate the relationship to risk of injury in competitive athletes. Results indicate that the use of the CJM enhances posture, balance and lowers the risk of injury through Functional Movement Screening. This is the first study to link jaw position, posture and injury risk in athletes. The outcomes from this study could provide the necessary framework for future research on this topic.
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