Originally Posted by Garrett
The mouthguard thing is really interesting. Many athletes are very convinced that they are the hot ticket. Makes sense to me, but I haven't found much in the literature that is super convincing. I guess one issue is that in the sports where people use mouthguards regularly, there isn't a group of people not using mouthguards.
I don't know that mouthguards would protect you all that much against a concussion. They might offer some protection, but I doubt anyone has done studies with the kind of scope that would be needed. As you pointed out, in heavy-duty contact sports like (American) football, hockey, or rugby, almost everyone wears one all the time, so there isn't a good 'control' group to compare with.
They are, however, really really good at keeping your lower jaw from getting smacked into your upper jaw incredibly hard. Impacts like that can either bust up your jaw/teeth, or cause you to involuntarily bite through your tongue. Not pretty. If you plan on making big-ass jumps with potentially nasty landings (either off large terrain park features or cliffs), a mouthguard is probably a very good idea.
re: helmet standards -- I think there is a pretty substantial population of parents who would definitely choose a "safer" helmet for their kid if they had such a choice. Racers and other people expecting large-scale wipeouts on a regular basis might also be very interested, although for your average skier it's (probably) not going to make much difference unless you can make an affordable helmet that is radically better than what we have now.