Like gloves and head guards, mouthguards are one of those topics that amateur boxers love to discuss but never seem to reach a consensus on.
Some boxers swear by certain brands; others will say they can’t tell the difference while many will say they prefer boil and bite mouthguards, a small majority may prefer custom fit guards (maybe we would too if it wasn’t for the price), the list of differences is endless.
We aim to put some of those debates to bed.
The challenge is because many boxing mouthguards are quite simply the same product – protection for your teeth and mouth area – many of the differences are related to marketing.
Some mouthguard brands claim to be able to withstand more impact; others mention enhanced oxygen airflow as a selling point while some just focus on being the cheapest product available.
Quite simply, there’s a lot of noise, and it can be difficult to tell what’s bark and what’s bite.
To avoid this issue and to ensure none of our test boxers were swayed by brand name, our test was carried out ‘blindly’ without knowing which mouthguard was which.
In total, we used 14 mouthguards, two of each product (1 for each boxer per round of sparring).
Each boxer was assigned each mouthguard in a random order meaning they were never both wearing the same mouthguard in the same round. This was to avoid the boxers identifying what mouthguard they were wearing in a specific round by looking at their opponent.
After each round, the mouthguards were scored by both boxers.
Even carrying out blind testing in this way, with no branding or product name visible, there were still significant differences in mouthguards and their performance.
Our test boxers had to think hard about the scores they assigned each mouthpiece after every round (so much so that we extended the intervals between rounds to five minutes).
Both boxers, as well as independent reviewers we have spoken to since came away with strong preferences.
When planning the blind sparring sessions, the OPRO Power-Fit was the one mouthguard that I was most interested to see how it would perform in an entirely fair and impartial test.
OPRO is the brand that spends most on marketing not only related to boxing, but a range of contact sports, and as a result, the Power-Fit was the most expensive mouthguard we reviewed.
As a result, the question was, would the Power-Fit live up the hype and show it is worth the cost? The answer was a unanimous yes with both boxers claiming it was their favorite even when they had no idea what guard they were wearing.
In fact, after completing the sparring session, both boxers were asked what brand and product they believed they had ranked as the top performer.
Neither chose the OPRO Power-Fit correctly, both believing they had chosen other guards as their number 1 choice only to discover that the Power-Fit those indeed live up to the hype after all.
The OPRO Power-Fit outperformed all other mouthguards in all three of our evaluation categories:
- Comfort and overall fit – As well as being protective is it also comfortable
- Shock absorption and protection – How it handles impact
- Breathability – Does it affect breathing negatively
The OPRO Power-Fit was found to offer immediate comfort with both boxers mentioning the natural feel the guard provided.
This is a huge bonus; if a mouthguard can mold to your teeth quickly and easily, you can tell it has been designed well.
As well as being comfortable the OPRO mouthguard also offered robust protection and absorbed impact far above any of the other mouthpieces reviewed, a significant factor for a combat sport such as boxing.
As well as offering extra protection, the easy to mold guard almost went unnoticed at times to both boxers. “I almost forgot that I was wearing a mouthguard at times.” Said one boxer. “My breathing wasn’t impeded at all while in the ring. I didn’t want the bell to ring to signal the end of the round; I felt like I could box all day.” commented the other.
To summarize, the OPRO Power-Fit mouthguard offered the best performance of any guard we tested.
OPRO’s marketing material claims their mouthguards outperform any competitors, and our blind test leaves us in no doubt about those boasts.
So is it worth the cost?
That depends on your budget. The OPRO Power-Fit came out on top in our sparring test but not by a considerable margin. If you want nothing but the best, then choose the Power-Fit. If the cost is still making you think twice and you consider the price a lot of money, you’re not alone – plus our tests threw up several excellent alternatives.
This mouthguard was a bit of a surprise to both boxers who carried out the testing.
Although one of the most popular brands associated with boxing, the Everlast Evershield far outperformed our expectations being a strong contender in all categories.
“The mouthguard didn’t offer a natural feel like other products we reviewed the guard absorbed shots well; I felt like my whole jaw was protected.”
“My breathing just felt so good while wearing this mouthguard; it felt as if I was wearing a custom fit guard, to be honest.” Commented both of our boxers.
Overall is the OPRO Power-Fit a better boxing mouthguard?
Is it worth the price in terms of being almost three times more expensive than the Everlast Evershield? Quite simply, no.
With strong performances in all of our tests, the Everlast Evershield offers unbeatable value. It was one of the cheapest mouthguards we reviewed but punched well above its weight.
Best All-Rounder – SISU NextGen
Our All Rounder award was given to the guard that, although didn’t excel in any one category, did hold its own across the board.
The SISU NextGen fell firmly into this category, with both boxers having positive words to say about the protective guard.
“I really enjoyed wearing this guard. I wouldn’t just limit this to a boxing mouthguard and would say it would be perfect for a number of contact sports.”
His opponent and fellow reviewer commented, “No real complaints about this guard. I can’t say it was the most comfortable, but as a piece of protective gear, it definitely did its job.”
Quite simply, if you want peace of mind that you are buying a well-made mouthguard that might not have the comfort or feel of other options than the SISU NextGen is a solid choice, it also comes in a range of cool colors.
Venum Predator Mouthguard
The Venum Predator is a state of the art mouth guard that has been designed to include features such as a high-density rubber frame that gives better shock management and impact protection.
Many boxers we asked to review this guard complimented the Nexfit gel rubber frame saying it was easy to adjust and comfortable in the mouth, perfect for boxing and other contact sports including martial arts.
The Venum Predator comes with a protective case for storage and is an excellent accessory for ensuring higher levels of hygiene.
Why did we review the Venum predator and not the Venum challenger mouthguard? This is a good question, but quite simply, we went for the latest model. Many boxing fans and followers we discussed this test with before carrying it out mentioned that the Venum predator offered a perfect fit that the Venum challenger mouthguard just couldn’t live up to.
The ProDefenda guard we choose to make up part of our blind testing process features a customized boil and bite fit complete with a detailed instruction manual to ensure a comfortable and protective feel, perfect for absorbing the impact from punches while sparring and during bouts.
The ProDefenda team is so serious about sports and safety that they added anti-slip pads for that extra grip, making this mouthpiece suitable for a range of sports, including basketball and football. This technology makes sure that the guard does not shift in the heat of the battle and is something that almost all of our review boxers commented on.
Every boxer needs a constant flow of fresh air, and to make this possible, the ProDefenda mouthguard features centralized air holes that allow for clear oxygen flow, ensuring better breathing.
The double-layered frame acts as a shock absorber, thus providing maximum protection to your teeth as you clinch and spar with your opponent.
Additionally, the inner layer contains a soft-gel that is surrounded by a rigid outer shield suitable for withstanding an impact to the face or jaw. In fact, the soft-gel design was a talking point for our fighters. “The quality of this mouthguard surprised me. It just felt so protective the whole time I wore it, both in the sparring session and since then too. You can tell it has been designed with boxing in mind, and for a bite mouthguard, the way it was easily able to mold to my teeth was perfect with helping with my breathing.”
Beauf Athletic Mouthguard
The Beauf athletic mouthguard impresses when it comes to absorbing impact from blows and punches and protects your teeth as well as any other mouthguard we reviewed.
The secret behind this is its thick cushioning base, which makes it ideal for use by athletes in both contact and non-contact sports.
One of our review boxers commented. “I’m not only passionate about my boxing but martial arts as well, and I can’t wait to test it on the mat too. It offered great protection and absorbed impact as well as can be expected from a boil and bite mouthguard.”
The new Beauf technology also allows you to speak and breathe with ease as it is designed with a chew resistance and dentist-like fit, meaning it sits comfortably above your bottom teeth.
Another review we received covered this breathability. “My breathing was perfect with this mouthguard. I love the way it was been designed to take impact but also be protective. It’s probably one of the best mouthguards I’ve worn; I enjoyed the way I was able to mold it quickly and easily.”
Furthermore, the presence of the dental armor fitting material gives it the flexibility to fit into any mouth.
Beauf has also added grip rings on the bottom of the mouthguard for optimal retention and snug fit.
Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard
The Shock Doctor brand is a popular choice in the mouthguard market, and for a good reason.
To begin with, the mouthguard comes with a gel max liner that has a heavy-duty exoskeletal shock frame that provides maximum protection even during the hardest impacts. This gel max liner also compliments the high-density rubber of the mouthguard.
To ensure a free flow of air that is necessary during boxing, shock doctor gel max also has integrated breathing channels that make respiration easy and thus maximum performance.
This saw it score highly in two out of our three core review categories, and it was unlucky not to appear higher on our list of top boxing mouthguards.
Why you should be wearing a mouthguard when boxing
Whether you’re new to boxing or an experienced fighter who knows their way around the ring, we really can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you choose the right mouthguard for sparring and bouts.
The fact of the matter is, without an effective mouthguard, there’s a high probability that boxing can lead to mouth and dental injuries.
The severity of these injuries can differ, from biting your tongue to even losing teeth.
At Mouthguard Awareness, we’ve seen just about every injury you can imagine due to not wearing a mouthpiece.
Cases of boxers suffering from tissue damage or their teeth getting chipped are unfortunately quite common.
You don’t need to be told that, boxing, just like MMA, and martial arts are all combat sports that involve a lot of physical duels and punches being thrown.
Because of this, it doesn’t matter whether you’re preparing for a big bout or heading to your first session at the local boxing club; all it takes is a single blow to inflict damage, which is why wearing a mouthguard while boxing is so vital.
Here are three key reasons why you shouldn’t be entering a ring without a mouthguard.
Mouthguards protect your teeth and gums from damage
During a fight or sparring, you might fall or receive a blow and impact that causes you to bite your lip, or worse, damage your teeth directly.
Unfortunately, mouth injuries can sometimes take a long time to heal, affecting your performance in the long run.
Worst case scenario? You could bite your tongue so severely that it might need stitches to heal.
Quite simply, a mouthguard could save you a lot of pain and hassle in the long run.
Mouth injuries cause not only unbearable physical pain but also a lot of money.
Those trips to the dentist can be pretty expensive, whether it is your top or bottom teeth that need attention.
In the United States alone, around $500 million is spent on dental injuries annually.
While the initial cost of purchasing a mouthguard might seem annoying to some folks, it is a cheaper option in the long run.
Boost your confidence in the ring
Other than saving your money, a mouthguard will significantly boost your confidence in the ring, allowing you to become the best fighter you can be.
How to Choose the Best Boxing Mouthguard For Your Needs
Boil and bite or Custom: Which is the best option for boxing?
An ideal boxing mouthguard should be designed with a density of rubber perfect for absorbing shock from impact and punches.
Thicker mouthguards can withstand heavy punches that are typically associated with boxing.
This type of mouthguard may be a little bit uncomfortable at first, but eventually, you do get used to them and before long they will start to feel like a custom fit guard.
Although many mouthguards may appear similar in terms of design, they can be classified into two major categories:
– Custom fit mouthguards
– Boil and bite mouthguards
Custom fit mouthguards
These are molded to fit your teeth and gums.
Once the dentist gets the impression of your teeth, he sends it to the lab, where a custom mouthguard is made specifically for you.
Likely to be more expensive than the boil and bite mouthguards, these models will give you the best overall protection for contact sports. Furthermore, you will have the space to breathe and speak with your coach or trainer.
Boil and bite mouthguards
Made from a thermoplastic that becomes soft upon heating.
The soft plastic is then placed over the teeth and then pressed to fit.
Upon cooling, the plastic hardens, enabling the mouth guard to stick to the teeth. They may not be as effective as the custom fit option, but they are pocket-friendly selling for as low as $10.
Find out how long to boil your mouthguard for here.
Despite boil and bite mouthguards being a little bit uncomfortable on teeth and jaws at first (if not molded correctly), it is often the case that the most experienced boxers still prefer them to the custom fit alternatives.
More Notes on How We Tested
To try to help as many boxers find the best mouthguard for them as possible, we did decide to choose widely available mouthguards, which for a lot of our readers will be boil and bite rather than a custom mouthguard.
We also made sure to review a single rather than a double mouthguard option. This is because of the overwhelming benefits associated with this type of mouthguard.
Although a double mouthguard may look like they should offer more protection to your teeth, there is no research to suggest this is the case, and they can often make taking on fluids as well as communication difficult, not ideal for contact sports.
What is most important to us is that you protect your teeth effectively. The fact is you can now do so while wearing a state of the art boil and bite mouthpiece that feels like a custom mouthguard. This means you’re able to breathe easily while you box, which is a huge bonus.
As well as testing in a completely blind manner, we also asked several boxers outside of our blind sparring sessions to review the same mouthguards as well; this was designed to ensure we could be confident about the feedback and results we received.
It is also worth reiterating that these reviews aren’t scientific. No lab testing was carried out during our process. Instead, we believe the feel and feedback from real boxers would be far more reliable. We also didn’t delve too much into dental warranty as this can often differ widely from brand to brand, however many leading manufacturers do offer dental warranty along with their products.
If you have suffered dental injuries in the past, then we do advise you to consult a professional before making a purchase designed to protect your teeth.
By being able to examine your gums, jaw, and teeth in detail, they will be able to give more personalized advice.
Just remember to tell your dentist that you do take part in contact sports so they can provide recommendations which are perfect for you. A mouthguard designed to prevent teeth grinding is very different from a custom mouthguard designed for combat sports.
Bear in mind in some cases, your dentist is likely to advise you to go for the custom-made mouthguard, which can be quite expensive.