It’s a standard thought that every athlete participating in a contact sport should wear a mouthguard. Are certain mouthguards beneficial to all athletes?
Mouthguards can do more than protect your teeth. In some cases, they can enhance your training and performance outcomes.
But what makes performance enhancing mouthguards work so well? Here are the key reasons you should be wearing one.
1. Balance your bite.
If you’re someone who lives with an unbalanced bite, chances are you already know it. Your jaw might click when you eat or you may simply notice, from photos, that you have an uneven smile — whether due to having an underbite, overbite or crossbite. But an unbalanced bite can pose problems besides discomfort while eating, speaking and yawning.
The alignment of your bite — your jaw — affects everything around it. If it’s out of alignment it can have an effect on overall pain, causing issues such as tension headaches and migraines, as well as obstructing your breathing. An improperly balanced bite can lead to a reduced airway, which can make breathing difficult.
This is a serious issue for athletes, who need to be able to properly breathe to perform their best. Moreover, a reduced airway could lead to health issues down the line, such as lung and cardiovascular disease.
Custom-fitted sports mouthguards can help by realigning your bite. These mouthguards are measured with 3D Technology to hack your bite, and the results may include: stability, reduced tension, increased oxygenation and reduced lactic acid.
We create our custom-made mouthguards here in the USA by getting a 3D scan of an athlete’s mouth. With this, we’ll create anARC mouthguard specially designed for your bite.
By aligning your bite, as well as protecting your teeth, you can increase your oxygen intake, ensuring that a misaligned jaw doesn’t hinder your performance.
2. Improve your strength.
You may not realize it, but your bite may be holding you back. It’s strange to think about, as you’d never think the two would be related to one another, but one can very well affect the other.
Part of the reason for this is that a misaligned bite can lead to you exerting unnecessary stress throughout your jaw. While it might not sound like much, when muscles are negatively compensating, it can compromise your reaction time and overall balance.
The added stress around your jaw is contained within tiny muscles, over 60 muscles are focused around jaw, head and neck. That’s energy you’re exerting in your face that’s detrimental to the rest of your body.
For instance, look at a high school track runner to an elite marathon runner. The high schooler tends to be very tense, specifically in the shoulders and upper arms. Most of all, their face is usually very tight; they’re breathing heavily through their mouth and they look stressed — you can see it in their face.
However, an elite marathoner looks relaxed all over their body. Their shoulders and arms are moving in a fluid motion. Better yet, the skin around their mouth is usually relaxed and hanging; they’re breathing through their nose, not their mouth. They’re under a lot of pressure, but you’d never tell it by looking at them.
It’s important you take that stress out of your face so you can exert that energy into the rest of your performance.
Research found that a custom bite-aligning mouthguard improves strength and power performance, particularly through handgrip force, back-row exercises and countermovement vertical jumps.
By aligning your bite, the mouthguard allows an athlete to exert all of their energy on their training and performance. It’s like a sprinter improving their form after they swing their arms too much or a soccer player who heel-strikes while running throughout an entire game: Improper form will take energy out of you.
So fix your form and focus solely on performing. GuardLab's proprietary ARC Mouthguard is the most scientifically advanced and an innovative product that is changing the way athletes can perform. It's only available by a 3D scan, you can find a list of our participating dentists here.
3. Reduce your stress.
As mentioned above, many people hold tension and stress in their jaw. It’s a strange manifestation, and it could be brought on by someone feeling on edge or hyper focused. Some people may be clenching too hard or grinding their teeth while studying or playing long hours of intense video games. As part of the body’s natural fight or flight response, a person is bound to tense up. This often includes holding stress in the shoulders, as well as turning their hands into fists and clenching or grinding their teeth.
The scary thing is that many people don’t even realize it until it’s too late. They’ll realize it once they’ve finally calmed down, where that tension manifests in the muscles around the neck and shoulders, leading to ongoing TMJ pain, severe headaches and migraines, as well as significant tooth pain and dental sensitivity.
While there are ways people can relieve stress, a mouthguard is a simpler way for athletes under pressure. Chances are you’re going to feel stressed out while performing and training. But don’t let that get in the way of you performing. Instead, invest in a low-profile mouthguard — one that will allow you to clench without causing additional stress to your TMJ and jaw joints. And since it's worn on the bottom teeth, it isn't visible to others.
4. Protect your teeth.
Every person is different so there is no guarantee hoe much you training and performance, can be enhanced by a mouthguard. But let’s be honest: Your performance will improve knowing that your teeth are protected and your mouthguard is so comfortable that you may even forget you're wearing it.
Athletes wear mouthguards because they don’t want to deal with the reality that they may get injured without one. Injuries could include:
- Getting hit in the mouth by a slapshot
- Getting punched in the face while boxing and either cracking a tooth or biting your tongue
- Hurting your jaw when getting tackled during a football game
- Getting punched in the mouth while in a rugby ruck
- Taking a tennis serve to the face
While you may think you’re fine without a mouthguard, you’ll only think that until an injury happens to you. And if you’ve ever had a slight dental injury before while playing a sport, you know just how much it can affect you going forward.
Suddenly, you’re filled with anxiety every time you step into practice or competition, wondering: Will that injury happen again?
Don’t take the risk or allow those intrusive thoughts to harm your performance. Instead, wear a custom fitted mouthguard so you can play at your best ability.
5. Clear your mind.
As mentioned above, you run the risk of overloading your mind when not wearing a mouthguard. Suddenly you’re stricken with anxiety and panic when trying to perform or train. An athlete shouldn’t struggle with anxiety while they’re trying to perform. Sure, a little can go a long way, ensuring you remain on edge, performing at the top of your game, but you shouldn’t allow it to hold you back.
Instead, a mouthguard will help you reduce jaw clenching, improve breathing, and protect your teeth. Altogether, that will help clear your mind of anxiety and stress, allowing you to instead focus on the event at hand — not all the other noise of life.
6. Perform with style.
Last, it’s worth noting that many athletes feel most comfortable when they’re able to perform as themselves. What do we mean by that? It’s the MMA fighter who wears a specially designed pair of shorts, the football player who always plays with a visor installed in their helmet, the runner who loves having a bright pair of running shoes.
Moreover, many athletes rely on personalized mouthguards to add their own special flair. It’s a statement that not only allows them to proudly display their personality on the turf, mat or field, but it also allows them to feel like they are the total manifestation of themselves. We like to call these mouthguards DIY: as in, Design-It-Yourself. You can create and add your own design to these products: APEX, PRO or ARC.
As an athlete, that’s the best way to perform. You want to feel like you’re on your A-game. If wearing a personalized piece of gear allows you to perform like that, why not make sure you have it?
At GuardLab, we strive to provide our athletes with cool mouthguards. Any mouthguard can be customized to your desire, decking it out with special images, decals and colors so it’s entirely your own.
A final word on Performance Enhancing Mouthguards
Our unique ARC Mouthguards (with Alignment, Repositioning, Cushions) are designed for today's modern athletes, and offers both protection and performance benefits. It is the most scientifically advanced mouthguard on the market, and our 3D Technology allows each mouthguard to be custom built to balance your individual bite. Truly, no guard is the same. Each person will have a different bite alignment and that is why so many elite and professional athletes are choosing GuardLab.
That’s why at GuardLab we provide our customers with the best mouthguards on the planet, but all made here in the USA from high-grade materials so you can receive ultimate protection while getting your money’s worth. When you purchase one of our custom 3D-scan mouthguards, you’re getting an investment — an investment in your performance and in your future. You’re enhancing your athletic ability, ensuring you’re at peak performance, while protecting your teeth for the long run.
At the end of the day, it’s worth protecting your health so you can perform at your very best. Invest in yourself. It pays off, whether you’re on the court, mat, field, turf or track.