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Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31820428b0
Original Research

The Effect of Mouthguard Design on Respiratory Function in Athletes

Gebauer, Dieter P BDS, MBBS (Hons)*†; Williamson, Raymond A BDS, MDS, PhD*†; Wallman, Karen E BEd, BSc (Hons), PhD‡; Dawson, Brian T PhD‡

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Objective: To test the hypothesis that 2 types of custom-made mouthguards will have no effect on ventilation (V̇E, L·min−1), oxygen uptake (V̇O2, mL·kg−1·min·−1), and heart rate (beats per minutes) at varying exercise intensities (10 km·h−1 and 12 km·h−1) and at subjective maximal effort (V̇O2peak) in male field hockey and water polo players.

Design: A randomized, prospective, crossover study.

Setting: The Physiology Testing Laboratory, School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health at the University of Western Australia, a tertiary educational institution.

Participants: Twenty-seven male team-sport athletes.

Interventions: Each athlete participated in 3 experimental exercise sessions separated by 1-week intervals. Testing involved a graded exercise test (GXT) performed on a treadmill wearing either a custom laminated mouthguard with normal palatal surface, a custom laminated mouthguard with palatal coverage up to the gingival margin, or no mouthguard. The experimental trials were performed in a random counterbalanced order.

Main Outcome Measures: V̇E (L·min−1) and V̇O2 (mL·kg−1·min−1) were measured during the GXT at intensities that equated to 10 km·h−1, 12 km·h−1 and subjective maximal effort (V̇O2peak).

Results: There were no significant differences between trials for V̇E (L·min−1) and V̇O2 (mL·kg−1·min−1) at any of the intensities assessed (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The wearing of 2 different custom-made mouthguards during a GXT did not impair V̇E or V̇O2 during varying levels of exercise intensity in team sport athletes.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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