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Do Neuromuscular Dentistry–Designed Mouthguards Enhance Dynamic Movement Ability in Competitive Athletes?

Cotter, Joshua A.1; Jamison, Steve T.2; Schloemer, Sarah A.3; Chaudhari, Ajit M.W.3,4

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: June 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 6 - p 1627–1635
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001632
Original Research

Cotter, JA, Jamison, ST, Schloemer, SA, and Chaudhari, AMW. Do neuromuscular dentistry–designed mouthguards enhance dynamic movement ability in competitive athletes? J Strength Cond Res 31(6): 1627–1635, 2017—The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a neuromuscular dentistry–designed mouthguard (NMDD) on dynamic movement ability. Forty-two competitive athletes (8 women, 21.9 ± 2.9 years, 66.8 ± 18.8 kg, 1.68 ± 0.11 m; 34 men, 22.8 ± 4.8 years, 77.4 ± 12.7 kg, 1.78 ± 0.08 m) with greater than 2 years' experience in their designated sport were enrolled in the study. Participants completed the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), modified Star Excursion Balance Test (mSEBT), and a single-leg landing (SLL) task. Each subject was tested with 3 separate mouthguard conditions in random order: (a) no mouthguard (NO), (b) over-the-counter boil-and-bite mouthguard (BB; Shockdoctor Gravity, (c) and an NMDD (Pure Power Elite). Data were analyzed using a repeated-measures analysis of variance for each variable. There were no differences between mouthguard conditions in each of the 7 individual components or composite FMS score (p > 0.05). No differences were seen in the anterior, posteromedial, or posterolateral movements of the mSEBT; overall composite score; or time-to-contact measurements (p > 0.05). The BB condition (2.16 Nm·kg−1) exhibited higher peak knee valgus moments (pKVM) on the right leg only when compared with the NMDD condition (1.95 Nm·kg−1; p = 0.003) but not the NO condition (2.09 Nm·kg−1; p = 0.7262) during the SLL task. No differences in pKVM were seen on the left leg (p = 0.324). In conclusion, an NMDD was not effective at enhancing or diminishing measures of dynamic movement ability compared with BB or NO conditions.

1Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Long Beach, California;

2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding National Running Center, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts;

3Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; and

4Division of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Address correspondence to Joshua A. Cotter,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.