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Best Mouthguards for Sports

Updated on June 13, 2022
Khushbu Gopalakrishnan Headshot
Written by Veronika
Medically Reviewed by Khushbu Gopalakrishnan

What are Mouthguards?

A mouthguard is also known as a sports guard. It 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.

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 Limited-Contact SportsSISU Sports Mouth Guard

Best for KidsAITUSI Kids Youth Mouth Guard for Sports

Best for BracesShock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard

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

Examples of limited-contact sports include:

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

Types of Mouthguards for Sports

There are three types of mouthguards for sports:

  1. Custom made
  2. Boil-and-bite
  3. Stock or ready-made

Each of these vary in cost, comfort, and efficacy.

Custom-made mouthguards are made in a dental office or lab. These are usually the best, but most expensive, option. A dentist gets impressions of your teeth so that the mouthguard fits perfectly in your mouth.

Boil-and-bite mouthguards are 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 adapts to your teeth through the pressure of your bite and manipulation of your tongue, fingers, and lips.

Stock mouthguards are the most easily obtainable type of mouthguard. Most sporting goods stores sell these. However, they usually carry a limited range of sizes.

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

Why are Mouthguards Important for Sports?

People who engage in contact or limited-contact sports have a high risk of sustaining tooth injuries. A mouthguard significantly reduces this risk.

A mouthguard protects your teeth and surrounding soft tissues by forming a thick layer over them. People who don’t use mouthguards in recreational or competitive sports are almost twice as likely to sustain an orofacial injury.

Best Mouthguards for Sports

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

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

Custom mouthguards are always a good option. However, getting them made at the dentist can be expensive. Sporting Smiles mouthguards offer a fair price for this type of mouthguard.

Their product is 3mm 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
  • Fits perfectly 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

Impact Mouthguard

Best for Combat Sports

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
  • Adjustment costs are covered by the company

Cons:

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

SISU Sports Mouth Guard

Best for Limited-Contact Sports

The SISU mouthguard would have been the best overall, but this boil-and-bite mouthguard is too thin for most contact sports. It’s better suited for people engaging in limited-contact sports.

Pros:

  • Comes in three sizes you can mold by boiling
  • Fits both adults and children
  • Slim design to make speech easier
  • Rounded edges for better comfort
  • Medium and large sizes are suitable for braces
  • Can be remolded

Cons:

  • Does not come with a case
  • Needs to be customized at the dentist to fit braces
  • Molding process is a learning curve
  • Not suitable for martial arts, combat sports, and/or football

AITUSI’s mouthguard is specifically designed for kids. It comes in two sizes to accommodate children under 10 years old, and those who are 10 to 15 years old.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Not compatible with braces
  • May need to trim ends for better fit

Shock Doctor’s Double Braces Mouthguard is specifically designed for people with braces. It also meets all the national and state high school wrestling rules for upper brace 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 perfectly.

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 company 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

Taking Care Of a Mouthguard

Avoid using hot water when you’re cleaning your mouthguard. Don’t chew on it or share it with other people.

Rinse the mouthguard with cold water or alcohol-free mouthwash before and after use. You should 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 during dental appointments so the dentist can check its durability and condition. Replace the mouthguard if it:

  • Is loose
  • Has holes or tears
  • Irritates your teeth and/or gums

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.

The three types of mouthguards include:

  1. Custom
  2. Boil-and-bite
  3. Stock or ready-made

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 June 13, 2022
4 Sources Cited
Last updated on June 13, 2022
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, 19 Oct. 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), 1 June 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
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