Updated on February 7, 2024
7 min read

Best Mouthguards for Sports

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Everything We Recommend

Best Overall (Editor’s Pick) — Shock Doctor Pro Mouth Guard

Best for Contact Sports — Sporting Smiles Custom Clear Sports Mouth Guard

Best for Combat Sports — Impact Mouthguard

Best for Kids — AITUSI Kids Youth Mouth Guard for Sports

Best for Braces — Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard

Best for Bruxism — Oral-B Nighttime Dental Guard

What are Mouthguards?

A mouthguard protects the teeth and gums from potential trauma during sports. 

Mouthguards stabilize the jaw while separating the top and bottom rows of teeth from each other. They also absorb or redistribute shock from violent contact that could otherwise result in a bigger injury.

Mouthguards also protect your mouth from the effects of bruxism. Bruxism is when you habitually grind or clench your teeth. This can lead to problems like tooth damage, tooth loss, and TMJ disorder.  

Why are Mouthguards Important for Sports?

A mouthguard protects your teeth and surrounding soft tissues by forming a thick layer over them. People who engage in contact or limited-contact sports have a high risk of sustaining tooth injuries. A mouthguard significantly reduces this risk.

People who don’t use mouthguards in recreational or competitive sports are almost twice as likely to sustain an orofacial injury.

Dentists recommend mouthguards during contact and limited-contact sports. Examples of contact sports include:

  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Rugby
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts
  • Water polo
  • Combat sports
  • Jiu Jitsu

Examples of limited-contact sports include:

  • Acrobatics
  • Baseball
  • Bicycling
  • Skateboarding
  • Softball
  • Skydiving
  • Weightlifting
  • Gymnastics
  • Track and field events

Why Are Mouthguards Important for Bruxism?

If you have bruxism, wearing mouthguards offers teeth protection at night. Bruxism refers to difficulty controlling your jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Continuous teeth grinding and clenching can cause several dental problems, including tooth sensitivity and pain.

When you wear a mouthguard, you help prevent damage to your teeth. The mouthguard protects where your teeth touch. So when you grind your teeth, the mouthguard takes the brunt of the grinding instead of your teeth rubbing together.

Types of Sports Mouthguards

There are three types of mouthguards for sports. Each varies in cost, comfort, and efficacy. They are:

1. Custom-Made Mouthguards

Custom-made mouthguards are made in a dental office or lab. This is usually the best but most expensive option.

To make the mouthguard, a dentist takes impressions of your teeth. This allows the mouthguard to fit perfectly in your mouth.

2. Boil-and-bite Mouthguards

A boil-and-bite mouthguard is self-adapting. You make it yourself by placing it in hot water to become more pliable. Let it cool before placing it in your mouth.

The mouthguard will adapt to your teeth from your bite pressure and the manipulation of your tongue, fingers, and lips.

3. Stock or ready-made Mouthguard

A stock mouthguard is the most easily obtainable mouthguard. Most sporting goods stores sell stock sports mouthguards. However, they usually carry a limited range of sizes.

Stock mouthguards are less comfortable because of their generic design. Additionally, these mouthguards are the least effective because of the potential incompatibility with your teeth and gums.

Best Mouthguards for Bruxism and Sports

The best mouthguard should fit your mouth and other oral structures perfectly. The material should also be U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved.

A good mouthguard should also:

  • Stay in place comfortably and securely
  • Be easy to clean
  • Have high-impact energy absorption

These are some of the best mouthguards for sports:

Shock Doctor Pro Mouth Guard

Best Overall (Editor’s Pick)
Shock Doctor Pro Mouth Guard

The Shock Doctor Pro Mouth Guard is one of the best mouthguard options for sports. Each pack contains 12 pieces of boil-and-bite mouthguards.

Pros:

  • Multilayer design for better shock absorption
  • Suitable for all contact sports
  • Compatible with braces
  • Easy to mold by boiling

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a case
  • Only comes in two sizes
  • You may need to trim the ends if it’s too big

Sporting Smiles Custom Clear Sports Mouth Guard

Best for Contact Sports
Sporting Smiles Custom Clear Sports Mouth Guard

A custom-made mouthguard is always a good option. However, getting one made at the dentist can be expensive. Sporting Smiles mouthguards offer a fair price for this type of mouthguard.

Their product is 3 mm thick, which is perfect for comfort. However, it’s not the best option for hard-impact sports like boxing or football.

Pros:

  • Crafted in dental labs
  • Custom-molded to the shape of your teeth
  • At-home impressions kit is delivered to you
  • Free impressions kit replacement if you make a mistake
  • Best for basketball, but suitable for other contact sports
  • Impressions records are kept for future orders

Cons:

  • Additional $15 charge for every impressions kit sent after the first replacement
  • Not suitable for direct, hard-impact sports 
  • Getting impressions can be difficult without professional help

Impact Mouthguard

Best for Combat Sports
Impact Mouthguard

The best thing about the Impact mouthguard is that it’s specifically designed for combat sports. The product is 6 to 7 mm thick and is made from dental-grade materials.

Pros:

  • Customized to fit your teeth and gums perfectly
  • At-home impressions kit is delivered to you
  • Specifically designed for combat sports like MMA and boxing
  • Allows oxygen flow
  • Molds from the dentist are allowed
  • The company covers adjustment costs

Cons:

  • Least affordable option
  • Additional $30 charge to accommodate lower teeth
  • Getting impressions can be difficult without professional help

AITUSI Kids Youth Mouth Guard for Sports

Best for Kids
AITUSI Kids Youth Mouth Guard for Sports

AITUSI’s mouthguard is specifically designed for kids. It comes in two sizes to accommodate children under 10. It also works for kids 10 to 15 years old.

Pros:

  • Specifically made for kids
  • Includes a plastic carrying case
  • Comfortable and feels light in the mouth
  • High-impact exterior with a soft interior

Cons:

  • Incompatible with braces
  • May need to trim ends for a better fit

Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard

Best for Braces
Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard

If you wear braces, Shock Doctor’s Double Braces Mouthguard is specifically designed for you. It also meets all the national and state high school wrestling rules for bracket coverage.

You don’t need to boil the mouthguard to fit it into your mouth. The medical-grade silicone is designed to fit the shape of your teeth and gums.

Pros:

  • Protects the upper and lower teeth
  • Made with medical-grade silicone
  • Specifically designed for people with braces
  • Has strapless and strapped designs
  • Over $35,000 of your dental costs are covered by the com
  • .0000pany in case of injury while wearing this mouthguard

Cons:

  • Can take a while to adjust to
  • Ready-made type of mouthguard (cannot be manipulated to fit teeth better)
  • Can be too bulky for children

Oral-B Nighttime Dental Guard

Best for Bruxism
Oral B Nighttime Dental Guard 1

Oral B’s Nighttime Dental Guard is our pick for people suffering from bruxism. It’s an affordable, over-the-counter (OTC) option that prevents damage from teeth grinding at night. You can customize this mouthguard by following a simple microwave process.

Pros:

  • Made from a unique BPA- and latex-free material
  • Can be customized at-home to fit your teeth
  • Good for sensitive teeth 

Cons: 

  • Can take a while to shape
  • More expensive than other night guards

Taking Care Of a Mouthguard

Avoid using hot water when you clean your mouthguard. Don’t chew on it or share it with other people. Keep it away from pets. 

Rinse the mouthguard with cold water or alcohol-free mouthwash before and after use. Use dish soap and water with a toothbrush.

Always use a sturdy storage container with holes to promote air circulation. Make sure the mouthguard is completely dry before you close the container.

Bring your mouthguard to dental appointments. Your dentist can check its durability and condition. Replace the mouthguard if it:

  • Is loose
  • Has holes or tears
  • Irritates your teeth and gums
  • Causes pain in your jaws 

Why Trust Us

At New Mouth, we’re committed to providing unbiased reviews about different dental products. Our team guarantees that our reviews are based on extensive research and analysis. 

To rate mouthguards, we did the following:

  • Reviewed different mouthguards based on comfort, fit, protection, and material
  • Talked to five experts about mouthguards and their importance
  • Read and analyzed hundreds of customer reviews on Amazon and other retailers

Summary

Mouthguards protect the teeth and surrounding soft tissues from injury during sports. Dentists recommend them for people who participate in contact and limited-contact sports. Wearing a mouthguard is also recommended if you suffer from bruxism. 

The best option is a custom mouthguard, but these can be expensive. Stock mouthguards are the least expensive, but they’re also the least effective.

Last updated on February 7, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 7, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Athletic mouth protectors (mouthguards).” American Dental Association, 2021.
  2. Green, JI. “The Role of Mouthguards in Preventing and Reducing Sports-related Trauma.” Primary Dental Journal, Royal College of Surgeons (Faculty of General Dental Practice), 2017.
  3. Mouthguard Use and Care.” The Canadian Dental Hygienist Association.
  4. Patrick et al. “Scale of protection and the various types of sports mouthguard.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, 2005.
  5. Shetty et al. “Bruxism: a literature review.” J Indian Prosthodont Soc, 2010.
  6. Mark AM. “What Is Bruxism?” The Journal of American Dental Association, 2021.
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