Mouthguard use reduces the consequences of oral trauma in sports with intense physical contact. The use of mouthguards is recommended by the Academy for Sports Dentistry for all sports involving physical contact and collision, and by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry for sports in which orofacial injury can occur, e.g. basketball. The aim of this study is to evaluate mouthguard use and relative knowledge by male amateur Greek and collegiate American basketball athletes.
In total 215 questionnaires were completed by almost equal numbers of male athletes from mainland Greece and central US colleges (mean age 20.5 and 20.8 respectively). They included closed and open-ended questions on the awareness, usage, acceptance and effectiveness of mouthguards. Answers were listed and analyzed with descriptive statistics and chi-square tests.
The use of protective mouthguards in basketball was low (12% in both samples) despite high percentages of informed athletes (54.8% Greek, 86.5% American). The dentist played a significantly (p < 0.01) more active role in promoting mouthguards in the USA (43.5%) than in Greece (18.8%). The most commonly reported anatomical locations of injury were the same in both countries: Lip injuries followed by trauma to the teeth and tongue. All athletes wearing a mouthguard felt protected from more serious injury.
Mouthguard use by Greek and USA samples of young amateur basketball athletes was low. There is a strong argument for improving awareness and encouraging mouthguard use promotion by dentists, especially in Greece.