You wouldn't think a mouthguard would prevent brain injuries, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) doesn't think so either.
The agency has reached a settlement with mouthguard marketer Brain-Pad, Inc. and its President Joseph Manzo, barring them from making unsupported claims that their mouthguards reduce the risk of concussions from lower jaw impacts, reduce the risk of concussions generally, or have been clinically proven to do either.
The settlement also prohibits Brain-Pad and Manzo from misrepresenting the health benefits of any mouthguard or other athletic equipment designed to protect the brain from injury.
According to the FTC, Brain-Pad and Manzo made their claims about the mouthguards’ concussion-protecting qualities on product packaging and in Internet and print advertisements. The Brain-Pad website now refers to the mouthguards as "the original jaw-joint protectors."
On packaging for the Brain-Pad Pro-Plus Junior mouthguard, the defendants claimed the device “creates new brain safety space!” and “Reduces Risk of Concussions! From Lower Jaw Impacts.” Similarly, packaging for the adult-size Brain-Pad Double Mouth Guard proclaims that the device, “Reduces risk of CONCUSSIONS! Protects Upper AND Lower Teeth!” The mouthguards retail for $10 to $30.
Mouthguards can help to shield a person’s teeth from being injured, and some can reduce impact to the lower jaw,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But it’s a big leap to say these devices can also reduce the risk of concussions. The scientific evidence to make that claim just isn’t adequate.”
The FTC administrative complaint charges the Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based Brain-Pad and Manzo with deceptive advertising for claiming that their mouthguards reduce the risk of concussions from lower jaw impacts, reduce the risk of concussions generally, and have been clinically proven to do both.