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J Dent Hyg. 2008 Fall;82(5):44. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

Mouthguards in the American Hockey League [AHL].

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University of Bridgeport, Fones School of Dental Hygiene, USA.



To examine the orofacial injuries and attitudes toward mouthguards reported by professional ice hockey players of the American Hockey League [AHL].


A survey was created and sent to the certified athletic trainers [ATC] of 23 AHL teams. A total of 25 questions were posed regarding age, position, orofacial injury, frequency of prophylaxis by a dental hygienist and methods to clean a mouthguard. The influence and responsibility of professional athletes as role models was also explored.


A total of 344 surveys of the original 394 surveys [87.3%] were returned. Three hundred twenty-four [82.2%] were acceptable for analysis. All respondents were male, with 74% between the ages of 19 and 25. Almost all players [93.8%] had been advised to wear a mouthguard, with a parent / family member first to advise on their use. Approximately 67.3% of players reported wearing a mouthguard in some capacity. Of those who did not, 31% stopped wearing a mouthguard upon arrival into the AHL. Dental injuries were numerous, occurring within 63.3% of ice hockey players. The most frequently reported injury was chipped teeth. As professional athletes, 88.6% consider themselves role models.


It is recommended that mouthguards be mandated within the professional arena as the prevalence of orofacial injuries remains a concern within ice hockey. Emphasis should be placed on educating health professionals of all disciplines who interact with athletes, as well as utilizing the promotional power of professional athletes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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