Which is Best Mouth guard for MMA, Boxing, BJJ and Muay Thai?

A good MMA mouthguard is perhaps your most important piece of training equipment when it comes to safety. Without the right mouthguard, you’re at high risk of losing a tooth, or worse.

We take a look at the 7 best mouthguards for MMA to protect you in all aspects of your combat training, whether it be MMA, boxing, Muay Thai, or BJJ.

How to Choose the Right MMA Mouthguard for You

Getting a kick to the head is never fun. But with the right safety equipment, hopefully you can roll with it and carry on without taking too much damage.

A critical part of that MMA safety equipment is your mouthguard; so first things first, let’s clear up a few things about what an MMA mouthguard does and doesn’t do.

What an MMA Mouthguard Does:

  • Protects your teeth by providing a cushion to any blow you receive to the head. Instead of your teeth having to absorb the impact (leading to breaking of your teeth), the mouthguard will spread the force over a larger area.
  • Protects your jaw by encouraging you to bite down on the mouthguard. When you bite down, your jaw becomes stronger, and less likely to break if you are hit.
  • Protects your neck. When you bite down on the mouthguard, it absorbs a lot of the impact, which would normally travel down to your neck, which could cause some nasty, long lasting damage. 
  • Protects your soft tissue. Think your lips, insides of your cheeks, etc. If you get hit in the face without a mouthguard, your lips and cheeks have to take all of the force, leading to split lips and deep cuts. An MMA mouthguard helps absorb a lot of that force, protecting that soft tissue.
Diagram of cross section of a mans head explaining how mouth guards protect athletes.

What an MMA Mouthguard Doesn’t Do

A concussion happens when you get a blow to the head, and your brain literally sloshes around, and bounces off the inside of your skull. Yes, that sounds nasty, but it should also tell you why a mouthguard can’t stop a concussion.

Your brain is a super-sensitive organ, floating inside a hard case. If that hard case gets smacked, even if the mouth guard absorbs a bit of the impact, it won’t be enough to stop your brain bouncing around you head. If you want to spare in MMA or even train to possibly become a UFC fighter you need a mouthguard.

We want to be honest with you here — despite what a lot of people claim, there is no firm evidence that a mouthguard will help you prevent a concussion (1).

Bottom line, you should also be investing in head gear. An MMA mouth guard is a super important piece of your MMA safety gear, and it will save you many expensive trips to the dentist, but it won’t stop you from getting concussed.

How to Use a Mouthguard in MMA

It’s all about the bite down. When you’re sparring with your mouthguard in place, you want to make sure you’re biting down on that piece. It’s a habit that you’ll want to build over time, because it will really help protect you from unnecessary damage.

For example, imagine you get a clean kick to your jaw, but your jaw is loose. All of those moving pieces in your jaw have all the space in the world to move, so they will. This is where you get a broken jaw, or knocked out if it hits the right spot.

Think of any time you’ve seen a professional MMA fighter get knocked out — it’s almost always when they don’t see the strike coming, and their jaw is loose when it’s hit.

On the other hand, when you bite down, your jaw is one single unit, and all of the impact is spread out over a larger area, including your specially designed mouthguard. It’ll still hurt, but you should be able to keep trucking on with your sparring with little or no damage. It’s the same reason you keep your hands up and your chin tucked, it’s for your protection.

Single vs Double Mouthguards

If it’s not clear by the name, a single mouthguard is one guard that covers just your top teeth. You’re free to open your mouth, talk, or drink water, as the single mouthguard just sticks to the roof of your mouth and doesn’t really obstruct things too much.

A double mouthguard on the other hand covers and protects both your upper teeth and lower teeth. Because it covers your upper teeth and lower teeth, and the fact that it’s one solid piece of material, you are forced to clamp down on it with your teeth to keep it in.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of a single mouthguard vs a double mouthguard.

Single Mouthguards

The Good

  • More comfortable to wear while sparring.
  • Because you don’t have to clamp down on it with your teeth, it’s easier to breathe, talk, and drink.

The Not so Good

  • Because you don’t need to clamp down with your teeth to keep it on, you’ll be more likely to not have a tense jaw if you are hit. You’ll need to be more disciplined in your bite down technique.
  • Less protection than a double mouthguard
Man wearing mouth guard for MMA in fighting match punching on the ground.

Double Mouthguards

The Good

  • Due to the design, you are forced to keep your jaw clenched at all times to keep the double mouthguard in. This is good technique for ultimate protection from injury.
  • It shields both your upper teeth and lower teeth from impact.

The Not so Good

  • Because you have to bite down on a double MMA mouth guard to keep it in your mouth, it’s much harder to breathe, and talking and drinking are almost impossible with it in.
  • Your jaw might get tired from having to clamp down the whole time.

In general, most people training in MMA will opt for a single mouthguard, as it still offers good protection, but it’s more comfortable and convenient to use. The choice however, is entirely up to you.

How to get the right fit with your MMA Mouthguard

Let’s have a look at the three main types of fitting you can get for your MMA mouthguard.

Off The Shelf

As the name would suggest, this is the entry level, and cheapest option for an MMA mouthguard. It might be okay for when you’re just starting out, but we’d definitely encourage you to move up to a boil and bite if you can afford it. The fitting of an off the shelf mouthguard will never be that good, and we think your safety is worth the investment of a better product.

Boil and Bite

Despite having a horrible name, the boil and bite fit is the most common style of MMA mouthguard You put the mouthguard in boiling water for a few minutes, take it out, and bite down on it. Since the plastic has been softened in the boiling water, it will create a tight mold around your teeth when you bite down.

The boil and bite mouthguard is the middle of the road approach, as it offers a decent fit for your own mouth — better than off the shelf, but not as good as custom fitting.

Custom Fitting

If you’ve got a beautiful smile and are willing to pay to keep it that way, this is the mouthguard fitting to go for. Because it’s made exactly for your mouth, it’s extremely comfortable, and should offer better protection.

Not everybody can afford a custom mouthguard… but if you’re an adult and you’re in any combat sport, you really should be wearing a custom mouthguard.

Adam Persky, ‘The Fight Dentist”

A custom fitting usually involves seeing a specialist who will take a molding of your teeth which will be used to make a mouthguard precisely to your dimensions. In this list however, we’ve included some picks for custom MMA mouth guards that you can make your impressions at home, and send away to be made. You can even customise the colours and design like Conor Mcgregor’s unique Irish coloured mouth guard.

What Material Should Your MMA Mouthguard Be Made of

In our review list below, we’ve made some notes about what material each MMA mouthguard is made of. Some of it is just preference, but it may also be about protection or comfort. For example, one kind of plastic might be better than another. Then again, a gel material will generally be much more comfortable than a plastic.

Again, this one is about preference, so if you’re in doubt, click the links to see what customers say about the materials.

How to Keep Your Mouthguard Clean

Your MMA mouthguard is going to have a rough life, living inside your mouth, getting thrown around and lost in the depths of your MMA gym bag. Because of this, it’s something you’re going to want to clean often to keep it free from bacteria that could make you sick.

A simple rinse in soap and water after every training should be enough to keep it clean, or if you want to really be sure, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide, or a special mouthguard cleaner (2).

You can also clean it with your toothbrush, but do not use toothpaste — that will eat away at the mouthguard’s material, shortening its lifespan, and its ability to protect you. 

When you have finished training, and you’ve cleaned your mouthguard, put it in a case. There is no point in cleaning your mouthguard if it’s going back into a dirty sock.

The Reviews of The Best MMA Mouthguards

1. Damage Control Battle Flag Mouthguard – Best Boil and Bite Mouthguard

Damage Control Mouthguards Battle Flag Mouthguards

The Specs

  • Type: Single mouthguard.
  • Fit: Boil and bite.
  • Material notes: ‘Damprotech’ technology for more shock absorption.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Comes with a carry case.
  • $15,000 dental warranty.
  • Can be worn with braces.
  • Standout design.

The Not so Good

  • One of the more expensive mouthguards on our list.

The name alone sells this mouthguard well, and with a $15,000 limited dental warranty, the Damage Control Battle Flag Mouthguard backs up it’s talk. Using a material they developed in-house called ‘Damprotech’, Damage Control claims it can absorb impacts 150% better than standard material (3).

Including built in shock absorption pads for your teeth, as well as a ventilated carrying case, the Battle Flag takes a decisive win for our best boil and bite MMA mouthguard.

2. Shock Doctor Max Airflow MouthGuard – Best MMA Double Mouthguard

Shock Doctor Max Airflow Lip Guard / Mouth Guard

The Specs

  • Type: Double mouthguard.
  • Fit: No molding required as your teeth rest on gel pads. 
  • Material notes: Latex free, BPA free, phthalate free.

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The Good

  • Has a large channel for easier breathing compared to most double mouthguards.
  • $10,000 dental warranty.
  • No need to mold.
  • Can be worn with braces.

The Not so Good

  • There are some reports of the gel pads cracking from biting down on them.

If the Shock Doctor Max Airflow Mouthguard looks like overkill, that’s a good thing.

Known for other quality products such as the Shock Doctor Gel Max, Shock Doctor doesn’t mess around with their sturdy designs. The double mouthguard design encourages you to bite down, although they say it’s designed to be comfortable while doing so.

The Max Airflow Mouthguard also protects your lips from strikes, so you can spar knowing you’re well protected. Complete with a $10,000 dental warranty, the Max Airflow Mouthguard gets our award for best overall MMA mouthguard.

3. Damage Control Custom Mouthguards – Best MMA Custom Mouthguard

Damage Control Mouthguards Custom Design Mouthguards

The Specs

  • Type: Single mouthguard.
  • Fit: Custom. 
  • Material notes: ‘Damprotech’ technology for more shock absorbency.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Do your dental impression at home, and send it away for your custom MMA mouth guard.
  • 2 week turn around (within the U.S.) to receive your mouthguard from your impression.
  • You can get your own logo/design printed on the mouthguard.
  • Thickness can be tailored to your combat sport/MMA discipline of choice.
  • $25,000 limited dental warranty.
  • Excellent for all contact sports.

The Not so Good

  • Expensive

In the upper end of the price range, the Damage Control Custom Mouthguards really do have it all. Do you want to have a word printed on your mouthguard? Sure thing. Maybe have them design an image for you? No problem.

You can even get 3D fangs, or wait for it, grillz on your custom MMA mouth guard.

These are extras you have to pay for, but it really shows the thought Damage Control has put into making the best custom MMA mouthguards you can buy. With a massive $25,000 limited dental warranty, and a claimed lifespan of upto 5 years, there is no denying their quality.

4. Impact Custom Mouthguard – Runner Up, Best MMA Custom Mouthguard

Impact Custom Professional MMA/Boxing/Muay Thai Mouthguard

The Specs

  • Type: Single mouthguard.
  • Fit: Custom. 
  • Material notes: BPA Free, handmade in the USA.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Do your dental impression at home, and send it away for your custom mouthguard.
  • Has a shorter option if you have a sensitive gag reflex.
  • You can get your own logo/design printed on the mouthguard.
  • Slightly less expensive option for a custom mouthguard.

The Not so Good

  • If you go with the shorter option for a sensitive gag reflex, there is not much to grip onto at the back of your mouth, so it may fall out at times.

The Impact Custom Mouthguard comes in a close runner up for our best MMA custom mouthguard. It offers most of the customizability as the Damage Control Custom Mouthguards, with a range of designs and colors.

Impact are also the official mouthguard of USA Boxing and the US Muay Thai Federation (4), so they definitely have some authority in their credentials for providing you with protection. Coming in at a slightly cheaper price range than the Damage Control Custom Mouth guard, the Impact Custom Mouth guard is a great option if you don’t want to spend as much on your custom fit.

5. Everlast Evershield Double Mouthguard – Best Boxing Mouthguard

Everlast Evershield Double Mouthguard

The Specs

  • Type: Double mouthguard.
  • Fit: Boil and bite. 
  • Material notes: Shock-absorbent inner layer with a more rigid outer shell.

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The Good

  • Feature centred breathing channel for more air flow.
  • Encourages you to bite down for sparring.
  • Comes with a case.
  • Inexpensive.

The Not so Good

  • Can be a bit hard to breath with, given its double mouthguard construction.

The Everlast Evershield Double Mouthguard has a soft, shock absorbing material on the inside, and a harder outer shield for further protection in boxing MMA. Combined with the fact that you’re most likely to be striking with large boxing gloves, you should be very well protected with this boxing mouthguard.

For a double boxing mouth guard, it’s also inexpensive compared to its competition.

The only drawback is that is suffers from what most double mouth guards suffer from — it’s always going to be harder to breathe since you have to bite down on it. But then again, if you’re boxing, that’s encouraged, so you might see that as a plus in a boxing mouth guard.

6. Under Armour Mouthwear ArmourFit Mouthguard – Best Mouthguard for Muay Thai

Under Armour Mouthwear ArmourFit Mouthguard

The Specs

  • Type: Single mouthguard.
  • Fit: Boil and bite. 
  • Material notes: ‘ArmourFit’ technology for better fit, latex free.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • A good fit without biting down.
  • Thin and comfortable.
  • $32,000 dental warranty.
  • Bite resistant.
  • Inexpensive.

The Not so Good

  • Can be a struggle to mold it correctly.

If you’re worried about a big dentist bill from sparring gone wrong, the Under Armour ArmourFit Mouthguard offers a $32,000 dental warranty to cover any contact sports mishaps.

They also claim to be bite/chew resistant, which is great for kids or people that tend to bite a bit too hard. While some people claim it’s hard to mold, you can remold it if needed, so you’ll have enough chances to get it right.

With Muay Thai being such a dynamic combat sport, we think these features make the Under Armour ArmourFit Mouthguard a great pick.

7. Sisu Max Custom Fit Sports Mouthguard – Best Mouthguard for Brazillian Jiu Jitsu/Most Comfortable MMA Mouthguard

SISU Mouth Guards Max NextGen 2.4mm Custom Fit Sports Mouthguard for Youth/Adults

The Specs

  • Type: Single mouthguard.
  • Fit: Boil and bite. 
  • Material notes: ‘Diffusix’ technology that disperses impact. A harder, thinner material than most mouthguards.

See On Amazon

The Good

  • Just 2.4mm thick, 30% less than most mouthguards.
  • Thin and comfortable.
  • Breathe, drink, and talk easily.
  • $35,000 one year limited dental warranty.

The Not so Good

  • Does not offer the most protection possible.

The Sisu Max Custom Fit Sports Mouthguard gets the nod for two categories on our list, for both Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, and best overall comfort. We would have given the nod to it’s little brother, the Sisu Mouth Guards Aero, but we felt that model was a bit too thin for combat sports. The Sisu Max however is still 30% thinner than most other mouthguards, making it very light and comfortable.

Given you shouldn’t get too many heavy blows to the head in BJJ, it’s lightness and breathability should be appreciated by those who spend a lot of time rolling on the mats.

And while it’s a thin, single mouthguard, and therefore doesn’t offer the same protection as some other mouthguards on this list, Sisu offer a gigantic $35,000 limited, one year dental warranty, so they are still very confident in their technology.

The Verdict: What Is the Best MMA Mouthguard?

Most of the mouthguards we’ve listed in this review roundup offer protection for specific purpose, that is to say, a boxing mouth guard will be very different to a BJJ mouthguard.

But after all, it’s called mixed martial arts for a reason – you will most likely be practicing several martial arts disciplines in every training session. That means if you have just one mouthguard, you need one that can be used in all areas of training.

For that reason, our top pick for the best MMA mouthguard is… the Damage Control Battle Flag Mouthguard. It’s not too expensive, still has some customizability, and gives a decent amount of protection, while still offering good breathability.

If you’ve got any questions about any of the mouthguards we’ve reviewed on this list, we’d encourage you to click through on the links to see what other customers have said about their experience.

Be safe, and happy training!

References

  1. Akervall, S. (2015, April 20). What Do Mouth Guards Have to Do with Concussion? – Sisu. Retrieved from https://blog.sisuguard.com/what-do-mouth-guards-have-to-do-with-concussions
  2. Soleimani, S. (2016, December 7). How to Clean Your Mouthguard – Sisu. Retrieved from https://blog.sisuguard.com/how-do-you-clean-a-mouth-guard
  3. 4 Mouthguard Options – Damage Control. Retrieved from https://www.dcmouthguards.com/pages/mouthguard-impact
  4. The Official Mouthguard Of USA Boxing and the US Muay Thai Federation – Impact Mouthguards. Retrieved from https://www.impactmouthguards.com/

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