As grapplers, we often get a couple of accidental knocks to our faces, but nothing is worth getting our teeth knocked out for. Mouthguards do exactly what they say on the tin, guard our mouths and teeth against accidental and intentional strikes to the face. If you’re looking for a mouthguard, but can’t afford a custom-fitted guard from the dentist, we have a solution for you. We take a look at the best mouth guards for MMA and BJJ available online and put them to the test.
Best Mouth Guards Reviewed
“More Protection, Less Mouthguard” The Sisu 1.6 is a mouthguard designed for sports with accidental strikes and impacts, such as basketball and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Made in the USA, Sisu design mouthguards that are the perfect intermediate step between a traditional boil and bite and a custom-fit dentist guard. The Sisu 1.6 Aero allows you to breathe, talk and drink with no discomfort. If you happen to damage your teeth, while wearing a Sisu mouthguard, Sisu will offer up to $35,000 towards your dental bills.
- Thin, impact-resistant, low profile
- Mouth Guard is super thin
- Hardwearing and Impact Resistant
- Low Profile
- Easy to breathe with it in your mouth
- Plastic can be quite hard to fit in your mouth when cold
- Difficult to mould
- The Mouthguard can be hard to insert when cold
- Sharp plastic bits can cut mouth if not moulded correctly
When it comes to sports protection, Shock Doctor is a household name. Shock Doctor’s Gel Max Mouthguard features their patented gel-fit liner that will help you fit your teeth even easier than before. The Mouthguard delivers essential protection, with their patented Exoskeletal shock frame, which features a heavy-duty rubber frame that provides incredible impact protection. If you’re looking for supreme protection on your teeth, make sure to follow their fitting instructions closely. The boil and bite technology allow you to redo a mistake if you don’t fit it correctly the first time.
- Superior protection for your teeth
- Professionally recommended
- Shock Doctor is a known and trusted brand in the protection
- Quite Bulky in the mouth
- Moulding can take a few tries for a good fit
- Difficult to breathe when tired
If you’re not familiar with Venum, then you probably haven’t grappled long enough, Venum produce sports equipment specifically for Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so you know that their products are going to be specifically tailored to our needs. The Venum mouthguard features their Nextfit Gel Frame, which allows for better adjustments and comfort around your teeth. It is specifically designed to help you breathe during tough sparring and competition settings.
- Designed with MMA in mind
- Easy to breathe with it in
- Easy to drink
- Has been described as small by some users
SafeJaws is the industry leader in mouth protection, so you know that their mouthguards are going to be made for grapplers. Perfect for striking, MMA, grappler and other sports, this mouthguard is the perfect product for someone who is looking for a durable mouthguard at a reasonable price.
- A good price point for protection on a budget
- Comes in a huge range of colours
- Comes with a case and extras
- Has been described as big
- May need trimming to fit
Impact has been in the MMA game for a number of years and their custom mouth guards are considered to be one of the very best.
The plastic in the Impact Custom Professional MMA Mouth Guard is free from BPA chemicals and comes in a range of thicknesses from 5mm to 7mm depending on your needs.
Despite the thickness of the mouthguard, the fit is extremely tight and prevents breathing difficulties associated with boil and bite mouth guards.
When you purchase this product you will be first sent a moulding kit, which you will then use to send off to Impact to have your mouthguard made specifically for you.
- An exact fit so tight it must be removed by hand
- Breathing and speaking is much easier
- The best mouthguard for serious competitors
- Significantly more expensive than a regular mouthguard
- Takes longer to get the product
- Moulding teeth can be tricky sometimes
Other Mouthguards We’ve Reviewed
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The Opro Power-Fit mouthguard features dual-layer protection for your teeth. The outer shell absorbs high-impact blows, while the soft inner shell keeps your teeth securely protected.
The Opro mouthguard features custom fitting fins that help with the moulding of your teeth gripping in all the right places they can provide you with extra protection allowing you to breathe much more easily and speak without any difficulties.
Featuring a one-of-a-kind design this month guard pictures bright gold teeth with 3D vampire fangs perfect for anyone who wants to make an impression on the mat or in the cage.
It also features a custom form-fitting mould which allows for maximum comfort with their new boil and bite design you can re-boil and re-bite just in case you don’t get the fit right the first time.
This mouth guard also features a $5,000 dental warranty for added peace of mind.
New SISU go is the cheaper cousin to the already popular SISU 1.6 mouthguard. This ultra-thin mouth guard features canine to canine coverage which helps protect even the most vulnerable teeth in the mouth.
It also features premium dental protection with up to to $35,000 worth of dental warranty so you know that your teeth are going to be safe.
Damage Control is one of the leading brands when it comes to boil and bite mouth guards with the best designs.
This mouthguard also comes with a durable carrying case and can be worn with or without braces. Damage control’s mouthguard material is said to be 150% more shock absorbent than any other product on the market.
Custom Fit Mouth Guards vs Boil & Bite Mouth Guards
When it comes to choosing which mouthguard to have you generally have two options a custom-fitted mouthguard or a commercial boil and bite mouthguard.
Custom Mouth Guard
Custom-fit mouth guards provide the best fit and protection possible for your teeth. Custom-fit mouth guards are moulded specifically with your teeth in mind, where are a boil and bite mouthguard comes in a standard shape that you need to mould at home.
Creating a custom-fit mouth guard normally requires a kit, which will allow you to create impressions of your teeth, which you then send to a dentist for it to be moulded and created to exact dimensions.
It is typical when getting a custom mouth guard to first receive a kit, which should contain everything you need to create your first impression. You then send the impressions off to the manufacturer, which will then form the finished product. Alternatively, you can go to the dentist, who can provide the service for you.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guards
Boil and Bites and by far the most common type of commercial mouth guard. These a significantly more affordable and available than custom-moulded mouth guards. However, with their price comes features that you don’t get with a custom mouthguard.
Boil and Bites are made out of specialised plastic, that when submerged in hot water will become malleable and will take the form of something until it cools, where the shape will keep. This plastic is what makes boil and bite mouth guards so easy to produce, all the person has to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions and they have a well-formed mouth guard that is ready to use quickly.
Most people will choose a boil and bite mouthguard due to their affordability, however a poorly formed boil and bite can damage you teeth rather than protect them, so it’s always important to follow directions closely.
The History of the Mouth Guard
While we’re unsure the exact origin of the mouthguard, there are a number of historical references that suggest they were introduced around the turn of the century. The first that seemed to use mouthguards fully was boxing, here boxers originally fashioned a primitive mouthguard out of cotton, tape, sponge and even small pieces of wood. A London dentist named Woolf Krause developed a mouthguard in 1890 to help protect boxers from lip lacerations. These injuries were quite common, especially with primitive mouthguards and often hindered boxing matches.
The original mouthguards from Krause were made from gutta petcha and were actually held in place by clenching the teeth together. Later, Woolf’s son Philip Krause modified the design and remade the mouthguard from Vella rubber. The earliest recording of a mouthguard that resembles’ today’s equipment was in 1916 when Thomas Carlos, a Chicago-based dentist, designed a mouthpiece for U.S Olympian Dinnie O’Keefe. Over the next few years, other dentists claimed to have originally designed the mouthguard, causing controversy.
Mouthguards became more common during 1927 during a boxing match between Mike McTigue and Jack Sharkey. McTigue was winning the fight, however a chipped tooth, during the match, severely cut his lip and forced him to forfeit the fight. After that match, mouthguards become commonplace during boxing matches and a new era for more modern and affordable mouthguards was born.
A new era
In 1947 an incredible breakthrough was made when in Los Angeles a dentist named Rodney O. Lilyquist used a transparent acrylic resin to form the first splint. This mouthguard was moulded to fit over the upper and lower teeth and was a much more awkward object than today’s modern gumshields. During this time injuries in American Football was around 40% dental.
During the 1950s the American Dental Association started researching and promoting mouthguard benefits for the public. In 1960 the ADA recommended the use of latex in mouthguards in all contact sports. By 1962 all high school football players in the United States were required to wear these mouthguards.
Presently, mouthguards are required to be used in 29 different sports by the ADA.
Commercial vs Dental mouthguards
Nowadays there is a huge range of mouthguard options available, from different sizes, forms and colours. Modern commercial mouthguards and known as boil and bite and can be purchased from athletic stores and online retailers such as Amazon.
Commercial mouthguards are readily available and you can buy them quickly and fit them efficiently. However, these are not custom and sometimes will not fit a person’s mouth properly, meaning a lack of protection for the wearer.
A dental mouthguard allows a much more customized fit for a fighter, however, it comes at a much steeper price. These mouthguards can also be customized with different colours and prints and will help the person breathe, talk and drink more easily than commercial brands.
Mouth Guard Selection Criteria
Deciding between a commercial boil and bite and a custom mouthguard is only the beginning. When you’re shopping for a new mouthguard there a few more things you need to consider.
Fit is the most important thing when it comes to choosing the right mouthguard. An ill-fitting mouthguard is going to cause more damage than good and a mouth guard that is too tight is going to cause severe discomfort.
If you’re going the custom route, keep a note of any discomfort, over time, especially if you’re still growing, your teeth formation can change over time, which could cause your mouthguard to not fit correctly.
If you’re going to boil and bit route, make sure you have bought the right size, normally Adult or Youth and the main two sizes, however, it’s always important to be sure. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully for a good fit.
When it comes to commercial mouth guards, the rule of thumb is, the thicker the mouthguard, the more protection it provides, there are exceptions with products such as SISU, however.
However with a thicker mouth guard, comes breathing and drinking difficulties, so it’s all about choosing the right size for the right job. One factor to consider is your breathing. If you’re struggling to breathe during some heavy sessions, you may need to consider a different mouthguard.
Because mouthguards are made of plastic, this also allows the opportunity for some pretty crazy designs! Dan Hardy’s vampire teeth are a common example when it comes to stylish mouth guards, but there are thousands of different styles. Want a hot pink mouthguard? Easy, want something plainer, like black? No problem. However, you should always choose fit and protection over style. Style is just a nice thing to have, it doesn’t protect you from anything.
Whatever you decided, make sure that you find the best mouthguard for MMA that will fit your mouth well and help protect your teeth.