Effects of Wearing a Custom Made Mouth Guard during Static Exercise on Masticatory Muscle Activity in Athletes with Cerebral Palsy
Aim: Oral health is closely related to the general condition of athletes. Oral diseases can decrease their performance by affecting their concentration during games and practice sessions. Appropriate education is therefore required regarding the importance of dental support. We introduced periodic dental examinations and fabricated custom-made mouth guards (CMGs) for athletes with cerebral palsy (CP). This study aimed to determine the effects of wearing a CMG on masticatory muscle activities in CP athletes while measuring center of gravity (COG) sway. Materials and Methods: Thirteen athletes with CP (male, n=12; mean age, 27.3 ± 8.96 y) and 10 healthy male controls (mean age, 28.5 ± 1.35 y) participated in the present study. The CMG comprised 2-mm-thick polyolefin sheeting. All participants underwent dental checks and occlusal contact areas were measured with and without a CMG. We simultaneously measured gravitational sway at the COG with the eyes open, as well as masticatory (masseter and digastric) muscle activities with or without a CMG. Data were statistically analyzed using two-way mixed analyses of variance. Results: Indices for decayed, missing and filled teeth did not significantly differ between athletes and controls. However, the occlusal contact area significantly increased in athletes when wearing a CMG. Although COG sway slightly differed between having eyes open and closed in athletes, masticatory muscle activity increased and COG sway decreased. Conclusions: The findings suggest that wearing a CMG might change the modality of masticatory muscle activity in athletes with CP and might help to improve balance during static exercise.