Within many fields, the ability to test equipment ahead of its use is very important. And unfortunately, one area where the mouthguard world is still lacking is this one: The standardized testing of various mouthguards and related items.
At Damage Control Mouthguards, we’re happy to offer a variety of quality mouthguards, including custom mouthguards for several different sports. To be clear, we’re not suggesting that mouthguards aren’t effective, particularly custom mouthguards – there’s plenty of direct research showcasing how a custom mouthguard that’s fit to your mouth will protect you from several risks while playing sports or taking part in other activities. Rather, especially when compared to a related area like helmets, we’re saying that specific testing for individual mouthguard models or types is lacking. Here’s more detail on what we mean and what you should know about the protective qualities of mouthguards, which are very real.
Helmet Standards vs. Mouthguard Standards
When you compare mouthguards to helmets, even across sports where both are used simultaneously, you see some pretty stark differences. Namely, the ASTM (previously known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) has specific standards for headgear and helmets across several sports, from equestrian and bicycle activities to snow sports like ice hockey, motorsports, and numerous other areas.
Using these standards, laboratories all over the globe can test this equipment using defined parameters and protocols. This is enormously valuable to buyers of these products, who will have an objective idea of the quality of their equipment. However, while there are multiple forms of testing that can be done for mouthguards (we’ve done plenty of it on our own products), these have not been standardized in any meaningful way across the industry.
Cleaning and Storing
Rather, the only ASTM standard that’s in place for mouthguards relates to their cleaning and storing practices. But largely due to the expense that comes with developing testing equipment and standardizing these methods across states, countries and even continents, this has never really been done for mouthguards. In addition, the simple difficulty of standardized testing for smaller items like mouthguards also contributes to this reality.
Again, we want to be very clear here: Mouthguards are protective during activity, and highly so. Particularly with custom mouthguards, which are meant to contour to your mouth and provide unique protection, you will be exponentially safer from mouth, jaw and head injury risks while wearing a mouthguard during activity.
That said, there’s no question our industry could use improved testing. Frankly, this would be best for the consumer – we know our mouthguards are high-quality, and have the data to prove it, but it’s hard to get this information across when different standards are being used across the mouthguard world.
For more on the testing standards for mouthguards, or to learn about any of our custom mouthguards or other options, speak to the staff at Damage Control Mouthguards today.