WHEELING, W.Va., Feb. 27, 2017 -- Research conducted at Wheeling Jesuit University shows that the use of peppermint flavored mouth guards improved the performance of members of the rugby team.
Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, professor of psychology at WJU, and senior psychology and athletic training major, Juan Pablo Troconis Bello, conducted a study last year that monitored the performance of 18 rugby players during a two-month period.
“The study employed a new technique to administer peppermint. By using the flavored mouth guards, which we purchased from mogosports.com, the players not only could taste peppermint, but also could smell the peppermint too,” Raudenbush explained.
The players used the peppermint mouth guards for a month during their practice and games. Then the players used an unflavored/unscented mouth guard for a month.
“At the completion of the two-month testing period, each player was asked a series of questions to measure and assess mood, workload, motivation and competitive edge,” Raudenbush said.
He noted that the results show that the players “indicated that the use of a peppermint flavored mouth guard led to a greater sense of safety, being more energized, had greater feeling of being 'psyched up' and had a greater performance during games or practice.”
The graph demonstrates the increase of different subjective variables being studied when comparing peppermint mouth guards (showed increase) and non-flavored mouth guards (control), Raudenbush explained.
“If replication of the study is applied, objective data could be measured such as personal speed, strength, and general team statistics that could demonstrate that peppermint mouth guards also show objective results, and not only subjective results,” said Troconis Bello.
In prior studies with athletes, Raudenbush said research indicated peppermint scent administration during athletic performance provided a variety of enhancements. Many of the past studies were conducted in a controlled setting.
Raudenbush and Troconis Bello traveled to the West Virginia State Capitol to highlight this study for lawmakers and visitors during Research Day at the Capitol on Feb. 24.
Funding for the study was provided by the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.