Each year, many athletes worldwide suffer dental injuries that could have been prevented with the simple use of a mouthguard. A 2017 study has estimated that a single completely dislodged tooth can cost teenage athletes up to $20,000 over a lifetime.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a contact sport, and although strikes to the face are not permitted, there are many situations where people get accidentally hit in the face. As a result, dental injuries can be common in BJJ. In addition, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends wearing a mouthguard for both martial arts and wrestling.
Best mouthguards for BJJ summary
- Best pre-made mouthguards: Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard, Beast Gear Mouth Guard/Gum Shield
- Fan favorite: SISU Mouth Guard Max 2.4mm
- Best custom mouthguards: Gladiator Custom Mouthguards (Pro and Elite), Custom dentist mouthguard
Why you can trust this list
In order to bring you this list, we analyzed over 14 brands that produce mouthguards. We spent over ten hours examining current research on oral health and mouthguard use in sports. Our analysis also included looking at reviews on websites such as Amazon and creating criteria for what features a great mouthguard should have. Furthermore, we considered real user opinions on Reddit for popular mouthguard brands used in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. You can read more about our methodology below in the article.
The best BJJ mouthguards
Here are our recommendations for the best mouthguards you can buy for Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Best pre-made mouthguards
Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard
The Shock Doctor is a breathable and comfortable mouthguard. It is crafted from heavy-duty materials, and its triple-layer construction gives durability and additional protection. It is suitable for many sports including wrestling, jiu-jitsu, boxing and football. Furthermore, you can choose from many different colors. This mouthguard also has breathing channels to help air flow during wear.
Beast Gear Mouth Guard/Gum Shield
The Beast Gear mouthguard is a dual layer mouthguard with a self-molding inner layer to ensure a custom fit, and a hard outer layer to protect against impact. It also has breathing channels at the front of the mouthguard that allow easier breathing, and a bite-lock mechanism that will prevent movement when your teeth are clenched. It also comes with a BPA-free hygienic case that will help you keep your mouthguard clean.
Fan favorite mouthguard
SISU Mouth Guard Max 2.4mm
The thin SISU mouthguard is a fan favorite among BJJ practitioners. The 2.4mm thickness makes it a claimed 30% thinner than other conventional sports mouthguards. Because of this, it should allow you to speak, breathe, and drink easily. The thermoplastic material absorbs impact and while being comfortable. It’s free from BPA, BPS, latex, PVC, and Phthalates and comes in various colors.
Best custom mouthguards
Gladiator Custom Mouthguards (Pro and Elite)
If you are looking for an exceptional custom-fit mouthguard, the Gladiator Pro is a popular recommendation among BJJ practitioners. It’s made from two layers of EVA material for a total of 4 mm thickness to help absorb shock.
An accurate model of your teeth will be created via Gladiator’s impression kit to create the perfect fit. Moreover, this mouthguard is breathable, comfortable, and can be worn with braces. In addition, it’s customizable, so you can add your gym logo, choose your preferred color, or a personal ID of up to 7 characters.
If you want additional protection, Gladiator also offers their Elite mouthguard, suited for combat sports that include blows to the face.
This mouthguard is thicker than the Pro version and has three layers of EVA material for a total thickness of 5.5 – 6 mm compared to the 4 mm of the Gladiator Pro.
Custom dentist mouthguard
A custom dentist mouthguard can be an excellent long-term investment in your teeth and jaw safety. A dentist will take an impression of your teeth and mold a mouthguard that fits precisely to their shape. Custom-made mouthguards fit perfectly and provide maximum protection during sports activities.
Additionally, a custom mouthguard is excellent if you wear braces, which can break if not taken care of properly. Furthermore, a custom mouthguard lets you select the thickness that most suits your needs. For example, a mouthguard for boxing will be thicker than a mouthguard for Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Depending on the dentist, these mouthguards can also be customized with things like your name or phone number printed on the mouthguard in case you lose it. Another benefit to getting a dentist-fit mouthguard is that you can bring it in whenever you have your routine dental check up to ensure it’s still in good enough condition to protect your teeth.
The downside of a custom-made dentist mouthguard is that it can be expensive, and requires additional time to fit and create.
Different types of mouthguards
There are three different types of mouthguards that you can buy.
These are usually the cheapest mouthguards in the market. These mouthguards are pre-made, and they do not require molding. They are designed to roughly fit your mouth directly out of the box.
The positive side of these mouthpieces is that you can buy them at reasonably low prices, and they can come in handy when you need a mouthpiece fast. However, they can be uncomfortable and fit poorly, making breathing and talking difficult. The American Dental Association considers these types of mouthguards to be the least effective because of “generic design, improper fit and inadequate retention (with frequent repositioning) during sporting activities.”
Boil and bite mouthguards
These are one of the most popular options when it comes to buying a mouthguard for sports. Boil and bite mouthguards are usually sold in sporting goods stores and can provide a better fit than stock mouthguards. These mouthguards are made of thermoplastic material and can provide solid protection, depending on quality.
In order to adjust them properly, they must be softened in hot water and molded to the shape of your teeth. If you are looking for an affordable mouthguard that will provide good protection and last for some time, boil and bite mouthguards are a good option to consider. Although as the American Dental Association mentions, it’s crucial that you perform the “boil and bite” process according to the manufacturer instructions to properly heat and mold the material to give a good fit.
If you want a high-quality mouthguard that will fit you perfectly, a custom mouthguard could be the best choice. A dentist or technician makes these by taking an impression of your teeth and then molding and creating a unique mouthpiece.
The downside of a custom mouthguard is that you will need to wait for a dentist or specialist company to make it, which can take longer and is generally more expensive than off-the-shelf options. However, custom mouthguards fit perfectly and provide excellent comfort and may provide extra protection. Additionally, the dentist or manufacturer can give you a warranty for the mouthguard.
What are the most popular types of mouthguards in BJJ?
In a recent 2019 survey of 81 grapplers the most common type of mouthguard used were boil and bite or “mouth formed” mouthguards at 52%. Custom mouthguards were worn by 26% of the respondents, followed by 22% of respondents who wore no mouthguard.
What is a mouthguard and why is it important for BJJ?
Losing a tooth is an expensive and traumatic injury with teenagers who lose a tooth paying up to $22,000 over a lifetime. It can also make eating and speaking difficult. Because of this, it’s vital to take specific measures and prevent potential injuries to the face and mouth during sports activities. Whether you are doing a contact sport such as BJJ or wrestling, or are playing basketball or football, you should always protect your teeth.
A mouthguard acts as a protector to save your lips, tongue, face, and jaw when you receive a blow. By covering your upper teeth, a mouthguard will also protect the soft tissue in your mouth. A mouthguard is usually made of Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or thermo-polymers to provide enough protection to your teeth.
Although Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a sport where no punches are allowed, there can be many accidental blows to the face during sparring sessions. A 2019 survey of 81 grapplers (77 who practiced BJJ) found that over most respondents had experienced or witnessed trauma to oral tissues including chipped or wobbly teeth, cuts that required suturing or dislodged teeth.
Using a mouthguard is the best way to avoid this and stay safe. At first, it can be difficult to train with a mouthguard, but you will get used to it after some time, and custom mouthguards can help with this.
What features do the best BJJ mouthguards have?
The best mouthguards for BJJ usually have the following characteristics:
- Proper fit via a custom mold. Mouthguards shouldn’t be uncomfortable to wear and shouldn’t fall out of your mouth during intense training sessions. Additionally, a mouthguard should allow proper breathing and talking. The Academy for Sports Dentistry recommends custom fit mouthguards fit by dental professionals.The American Dental Association recommends that mouthguards cover all the remaining upper teeth.
- Adequate thickness. The Australian Dental Association recommends sports mouthguards have a thickness of between 2-3 mm depending on the part of the mouthguard: “The approximate material thickness should be 2-3 mm on the labial aspect, 3 mm on the occlusal aspect and 2 mm on the palatal aspect.”. Other sources mention sports mouthguards should be 4mm thick.
- Durability. Cheap mouthguards might not last very long, as they are made from less durable materials. A good quality mouthguard is made from quality materials and can last for years if taken care of. It is tear-resistant and can endure chewing and being worn daily.
- Easy-to-clean. Your mouthguard should be easy to clean and made of quality material which doesn’t get damaged when cleaned.
- Comes with a case. Keeping your mouthguard safe and clean requires a case you can put it in after the training. The case should be BPA free and breathable which can prevent bacteria from growing.
- Protection for braces. If you are wearing braces, you should look for a specific mouthguard that will protect them. Usually, these mouthguards have multiple layers and will protect both your gums and your braces. Make sure the mouthguard is compatible with braces before purchasing.
- Personalization. When buying a custom-made mouthguard you can sometimes further customize it. For example, adding your gym logo, an image or your name and phone number is a nice bonus feature to have.
How we picked these mouthguards: Our methodology explained
- We compared mouthguards from 15 different brands
- To create this list, we read and analyzed customer reviews on Amazon, Reddit, and other popular online BJJ stores.
- We read multiple online studies on what key features a good mouthguard should have and ensured that the listed mouthguards have those features.
- We used Fakespot to exclude Amazon products with suspicious reviews.
- We spent over 10 hours researching popular dental studies on mouthguard use in sports.
Frequently asked questions about mouthguards in BJJ
- Can I wear a mouthguard with braces? The short answer to this is – yes, and you should! Braces can be very sensitive, and accidental blows to your mouth can damage them and cut your gums. Wearing a mouthguard with braces is a must.
- When should I clean my mouthguard? The Australian Dental Association recommends rinsing your mouthguard before and after use with water. It also recommends cleaning your mouthguard only with soap in cold or lukewarm water. For deeper cleans, Healthline mentions that you can use hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.
- How should I store my mouthguard? The Australian Dental Association recommends storing your mouthguard in a clean, rigid and ventilated container. In addition, make sure you keep your mouthguard out of sunlight and heat.
- How do I mold a mouthguard? Off-the-shelf mouthguards are usually made from a thermoplastic material that deforms in hot water. Most mouthguards have instructions on how to mold them, as the materials can differ. Make sure you follow these instructions closely to give you the best fit and protection. Usually, you place a mouthguard in boiling water for around a minute and a half. After that, put it under cold water for a second and then put it in your mouth. Shape and press it using your thumbs and ensure that you are sucking out the air from it. To ensure a good fit, you can bite on the mouthguard gently, so it fits even better. In order to get the perfect fit, you may need to repeat this procedure several times.
What’s your favorite BJJ mouthguard? Let us know below!