No longer are athletic mouthguards just something athletes wear to prevent them from visiting the emergency dentist. New athletic mouthgards now actually claim to help athletes perform at their optimal levels.
Performance-enhancing athletic mouthguards seem to be a miracle of modern medicine – the right mouthguard can help the entire body can function at peak capacity. Athletes who invest in these custom mouthguards says they give them improved focus, balance, endurance, and strength. Pro athletes, in sports ranging from golf to boxing to football, have turned to these appliances for an edge over competitors.
Your basic athletic mouthguards are protective and distribute impact to reduce the severity or occurrence of injuries, such as mouth cuts, concussions, and tooth damage. Over-the-counter boil-and-bite varieties offer this protection at a minimal cost to the user. The new-and-improved varieties do this and more.
One type, the Pure Power Mouthguard, is based on neuromuscular dentistry. Whether these mouthguards have actual physical benefits or if the psychological benefits are what fuel their success remain to be seen. Neuromuscular mouthguards reposition the bite to improve overall performance.
Meanwhile, UA Performance Mouthwear mouthguards are intended to stop clenching, which is what triggers the body to overproduce stress hormones such as cortisol, which decreases strength and muscle growth. Cortisol is known to regulate the immune response, but chronic overproduction can have significant negative effects on the body.
Because performance-improving athletic mouthguards are fairly new, it is not yet known if they live up to the claims of physical benefits manufacturers want us to believe. Right now, we have to rely on the users – athletes – for our best information. For many of them, they believe it works.