Everything about America’s game can be disputed. Who has the best running game? (At this very moment, of course, the Niners) Or, who is the best quarterback of all?
These are just two long-running disagreements I’ve had with friends recently, but these disputes also stretch to equipment as well. Do gloves give wide receivers an unfair advantage? And, what is the best mouthguard for football?
This guide has been created to put that final question to bed, and through our rigorous testing process, we believe we have found the answer. The reviews carried out for this guide were done so by five separate high school football players, each playing a different position: quarterback, running back, CB, safety, and wide receiver.
The results were unanimous, every single one of our football players agreed that the Sisu Aero NextGen was their top choice mouthguard for in-game action.
As with any type of sports equipment, because of the amount of money spent on marketing every year, it can, at times, be challenging to tell advertising hype apart from genuine performance-enhancing features.
Football mouthguards are no exception, and in fact, we went into this test with a good idea of what to expect of four out of the eight mouthguards we intended to review.
However, we wanted to make this test as fair as possible; this meant asking each player to review each of the eight mouthguards in at least one full game, across 5 players, combining for almost 40 hours of test data.
To ensure the results were as reliable as possible, we also chose players across a variety of positions, each with different skills and demands from their mouthguards during a game situation.
We probably had more than 40 hours of testing quoted if you were also to include training reps, but for this review process, we focused on game time only.
After every game, we asked each player their overall thoughts on the guard they had just worn, marking performance against ten critical review criteria categories, which included comfort and performance.
The results were unanimous. Of the five football players, we asked to carry out reviews, testing the eight different mouthguards we shortlisted, all but one of the players chose to return to the same mouthguard after testing was completed. This was pretty conclusive evidence of the mouthguard they believe to be the top performer – The SISU Aero Nextgen.
The Sisu NextGen was the mouthguard I was most excited about before this review process.
This anticipation was shared by all five football players who were asked to carry out the reviews in live game situations and feedback their thoughts.
The main reason for this is because the mouthguard has built up a favorable reputation amongst high school, college, and NFL players alike, demonstrating it can withstand impact at each level of the game. This reputation is based on several key points; the brand prides itself on designing high quality mouthguards that are thin, durable, being easy to mold, all of which lead to enhanced protection and performance. Pretty impressive for a boil and bite mouthguard that could easily be mistaken for a custom fit guard after a couple of wears.
Having carried out the testing for ourselves, we have to agree on all of the above points.
The thin design of this mouthguard drew several positive reviews, including comments such as “I just loved how this mouthguard felt. I only wear a mouthguard for protection, and the guards I’ve tried in the past are normally uncomfortable but not the Sisu Nextgen.”
Another player, our quarterback, commented, “No complaints with this mouthguard at all. I have usually worn custom fit mouthguards and was worried this one would be too thin, but it was just as durable as any mouthguard I’ve worn in the past.”
To summarise, the Sisu NextGen was the most consistent performer we reviewed, scoring highly in all of the criteria categories we tested within.
The biggest surprise to the players who carried out the combined 40 hours of testing was that the Sisu NextGen wasn’t the most expensive mouthguard they were asked to review. This made it an even better reason for us to choose it as our top pick and number one choice as the best mouthguard for football players. Why spend more when you can get enhanced performance and durability for a fraction of the price?
The Battle Oxygen Predator is another mouthguard that has gained a notorious reputation over recent years, mainly for its distinctive look more than anything else and Battle have built a brand around their uniquely designed products.
Their mouthguards are different from traditional mouthguards in the sense that they are worn over the lips, protecting them in the process as well as facilitating enhanced airflow through a large breathing channel out of the front of the mouthguard.
Battle mouthguards have also built a reputation for ‘out there’ designs and styles, ideal for showing off a little bit on the turf.
The clue is very much in the name with ‘Oxygen’ being the key feature with this mouthguard, and this functionality was very well received by our reviewers “My breathing just felt so good while wearing this mouthguard. It really did feel like a custom fit guard.”
“This style of mouthguard definitely took me a bit of getting used to. In fact, it felt quite uncomfortable at first, but after a few reps, my breathing just felt so natural I wanted to run all day.”
Comfort was mentioned by a number of our reviewers and something that did take a bit of getting used to. However, the pros far outweigh the cons with this mouthguard, and the reputation that Battle has built up in the space was one that was reinforced by our review process.
The Battle Oxygen Predator Football Mouthguard is an excellent choice for all football players, mainly due to the scuba breathing innovation mentioned above, designed to enhance breathing and talking capabilities that put it above most of the mouthguards out there.
Another huge bonus with this mouthguard that we found was that no boiling was required, with the molding process being extremely straightforward.
This straightforward molding process is because this is not a boil and bite mouthguard in the traditional sense. Instead, this would be classified as a one size fits all mouthguard, meaning that you can expect a long life span from this product.
Although not featured in our ‘Top 2’, The Shock Doctor Max Airflow lip guard is still an outstanding choice of a sports mouthguard, offering comfort, perfect fit, protection, and durability.
Ideal for a range of contact sports, and even some combat encounters, too, including MMA, this mouthguard is a very versatile piece of protective equipment.
When it comes to protection, few can top what this Shock Doctor mouthguard offers. It comes with extended lip protection meaning both your upper and lower teeth are secured.
One feature our reviewers loved was that this mouth protection does not compromise your breathing. Many of our players can testify that their ability to breathe with this mouthguard wasn’t impacted at all while making plays. “My breathability wasn’t a problem at all. I usually wear the Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard, but after reviewing the Max Airflow and now understanding the breathing channels it offers, I might just have to make the switch full time.”
Made from 100% medical-grade silicone, this mouthguard fits snug and comfortably in the mouth. It also serves as a cushion against shock. Suitable for all players, young and old, professional and amateur. The mouthguard is designed to conform to upper and lower brace brackets for comfort.
As one of our reviewers mentioned above, it also features breathing channels to allow easy breathing, which is an incredible feat considering the protection and comfort this mouthguard provides. It also comes with a quick-release football helmet tether.
Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard
Very few mouthguards can offer the same level of design and innovation as that provided by the Shock Doctor Gel Max mouthguard.
Specially designed with an innovative gel-fit liner to form the teeth and gum lines, this mouthguard offers a tight and comfortable fit.
In addition to perfect comfort, this Shock Doctor mouthguard has a heavy-duty exoskeletal shock frame, which can withstand even the most powerful of impacts.
These two innovative features put this Shock Doctor model above many of the mouthguards we tested as part of our review process. With integrated breathing channels, this mouthguard leads the way when it comes to breathability. It also comes with a convertible harness to use with or without the strap.
Overall, this mouthguard outperforms many other mouthguards thanks to its groundbreaking design. Not only that, but Shock Doctor also guarantees that their products are BPA free and also offer a dental warranty on all purchases.
Battle Oxygen Lip Protector Mouthguard
The Battle Oxygen Lip Protector mouthguard comes with a big reputation. As we’ve already explored above, Battle protective gear is known to football players of all ages, from youth football players to the NFL, and as a result, I was just a little bit excited to see how this mouthguard was graded.
As you’ve probably worked out by the structure of this post, we did score the Battle Oxygen higher, but that doesn’t mean the Oxygen Lip Protector should be slept on. We found this guard to offer excellent protection for teeth and mouth.
That should come as no surprise as this product has been designed with protection in mind. It is also compatible with braces and effortless to fit.
We found one of the highlights of this mouthguard was that it promotes superior airflow by offering the largest breathing hole of all the mouthguards we reviewed, even more so than the Venum Challenger Mouthguard.
This enhanced breathing channel is perfect for maximizing performance on the field and helping to make those all-important plays when it matters most.
The Battle Oxygen Lip Protector mouthguard is an excellent choice for all contact sports mainly due to the features we’ve already covered, including excellent protection, durability, custom fit feel, comfort, and breathability.
The Battle Oxygen Lip Protector mouthguard also comes with an adjustable strap meaning it can be easily attached to your football helmet.
Vettex Double Mouthguard with Lip Protection
The Vettex Double Mouthguard with Lip Protection is an excellent choice for high-impact football players. With a simple design, you really shouldn’t underestimate the protection this mouthguard provides.
Players with braces will find that this mouthguard works perfectly, and it comes with one size that fits all, meaning you do not need to boil it. Even without boiling water, we found it extremely easy to fit.
It features breathing channels that are particularly useful for keeping performance levels high when the going gets tough.
As the name suggests, this sports mouthguard also comes with lip protection, offering another layer of shock absorption.
This mouthguard comes with a helmet strap and, all in all is very reasonably priced.
Shock Doctor Pro Sports Mouthguard
The Shock Doctor Pro Mouthguard remains one of our best football mouthguards on the market.
It comes with two options, strapless, or with an adjustable strap, depending on your preference.
This makes it perfect if you practice other contact sports, including MMA.
When it comes to protection, this mouthguard outperforms many others we tested by offering multiple layers of durability. It features dual composite construction for lighter weight. Its jaw pads absorb shock as well as impacts and vibrations effectively, ideal for high-contact sports.
To top it all off, it also has a shock-absorbing bumper as well.
Reasonably priced, this mouthguard is an excellent choice for many football players out there who are looking for a high-quality mouthguard.
Overall, this guard is a great choice for many sports and is also extremely easy to fit.
Under Armour UA AirPro Lip Shield Football Mouthguard
I can’t lie; I was somewhat skeptical when I first unpackaged this mouthguard. Straight out of the packet, it is a no-frills guard, meaning no fancy colors or flavor fusion offered by some of the other mouthguards on the market.
However, these initial fears were soon put to bed as soon as our review process began. In fact, after the first high school game this youth mouthguard was tested in, I was happy to admit that I was wrong. This mouthguard exceeded my expectations by a mile in terms of comfort and protection, particularly for its price.
This mouthguard features a lip guard made from genuine medical-grade silicone for maximum comfort and shock-absorbing capability, not to mention the breathing channel specially designed to enable maximum oxygen intake. The no-slip molar channels also provide a tight and secure fit designed for shock absorption.
This sports mouthguard also works amazingly well with braces and can be worn strapped, connected to a football helmet or strapless. You do not need to boil it, offering a custom fit almost out of the packaging.
Vettex Adult Mouthguard
The Vettex Adult Football mouthguard is an excellent choice for both adult and youth football players.
Vettex never fails to impress us when it comes to the durability of their mouthguards, and once again, our reviewers were left impressed. Offered with dental warranty and being extremely easy to mold after leaving in boiling water for several minutes, this mouthguard was unfortunate not to appear higher on our list.
Offered in two different sizes, this guard is perfect for youth football as well as for adults.
We found the adult football mouthguard very comfortable to wear with a snug fit that does not wear out like some other guards we reviewed; we attributed this to the chew-resistant nature of the Vettex Adult Football Mouthguard.
The youth mouth guard also passed our tests with flying colors, and we found it suitable for players in any position.
An important bonus feature we found with this mouthguard was the breathing hole, allowing for effortless breathing. The lip guard extension also adds a layer of protection perfect for shock absorption.
However, by far, the most significant selling point for us with this mouthguard was the adjustable strap. In fact we’re confident this is what makes it a bestseller.
One of our reviewers loved this feature so much we had to include his comments. “As a strapped mouthguard, I haven’t worn too many guards better than this. It clipped on to my football helmet with ease meaning I could easily communicate between plays and grab a drink when I need to catch my breath. I wish I had worn a mouthguard like this playing youth football, it had a comfortable fit, and both my upper and lower teeth felt protected.”
All in all, this mouthguard is a good choice for football players who want high-quality protective gear without breaking the bank. This strapped mouthguard would also work perfectly with a facemask, which is also worth bearing in mind.
Under Armour ArmourFit Sports Mouthguard – Strapless
Under Armour loves to surprise us with high-quality sports products, and the ArmourFit is no different, far exceeding the expectations of those we asked to review the guard.
The ArmourFit is a strapless mouthguard marketed as a perfect choice for contact sports, including football and lacrosse.
While carrying out our reviews, we found the protective gear to be particularly effective for young players, and those that play youth football.
This isn’t because Under Armour has designed a product that can’t live up to the full force of adult football. Purely because the football players we asked to review this product commented on numerous occasions, they wished they had discovered this mouthguard earlier. One of our youth football reviewers said, “I really liked this mouthguard. My lower teeth still felt protected even without a strap, and it was the best football mouth guard I was asked to review.”
Even though this guard is perfect for youth football, it comes in a range of adult sizes as well.
Fitted and strapless, this mouthguard sits close to the skin for a streamlined fit without the squeeze of compression.
As a result, we found this mouthguard fits snug in your mouth while providing excellent protection, comparable to that of a custom fit mouthguard. It is chew-resistant, meaning that this is extremely durable and a long-term investment.
To top it all off, this mouthguard has been designed in a way that allows you to communicate with teammates easily with enhanced breathing channels, perfect for high-contact sports.
So this review rounds up our roundup of the best football mouthguards, but we’re finished just yet. Read on to discover why football players wear mouthguards in the first place, and what type of mouthpiece is the right choice for you.
Why Do Football Players Wear Mouthguards?
This is pretty self-explanatory, but we will offer our expertise on the matter anyway. Football players wear mouthguards because they protect them from many injuries caused by impact around the mouth area.
A guard can prevent a player from accidentally biting their tongue, and ease impact when tackles are made or absorbed.
The potential for injury during a game of football is only too well documented; as such, it is always advisable to invest in a quality mouthguard. After all, a mouthguard is still a cheaper option than having to pay out for medical treatment.
Moreover, a mouthguard also functions as a shock absorber. If your chin bears a powerful impact, the force will go through the chin, the jawbone, the teeth, and the facial bones. The power can cause a lot of damage along the way, leaving you with a fractured jaw, and even chipped or broken teeth.
The pain caused by such a mighty blow can be tremendous. A mouthguard can help absorb some of the force and lessen the damage. Plus, while it is still not entirely clear that such a useful piece of equipment can prevent concussions altogether, studies have shown that a mouthguard can reduce the severity of concussions.
What if the player wears braces? Should it prevent the players from participating in football?
The simple answer is no.
Braces can cause severe lacerations on the lips and inside of the mouth if a collision occurs.
An impact strong enough can even cause permanent dental injuries, not to mention that it will also damage the braces. If anything, a mouthguard is highly advised for players who wear braces.
Mouthguards can effectively eliminate that threat. As such, even players who wear braces should not have to worry about having to sit out on all the exciting games.
Do Quarterbacks Have to Wear Mouthguards?
Technically, NFL quarterbacks do not have to wear mouthguards.
However, it is highly advised. Although the official rule of the NFL recommends knee pads, thigh pads, and hip pads, it does not specify the need for a mouthguard, which may be surprising to some.
Even so, some players still wear mouthguards to protect themselves from concussions and dental injuries. Famous examples include Russel Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks while Lemar Jackson used a lip guard mouthguard at times during this year having previously worn a traditional mouthguard last year. The image below shows he has had experience wearing a lip guard in college, it doesn’t seem to affect his performance too much!
One of the biggest reasons given for football players, quarterbacks, in particular, taking the risk of playing without a mouthguard is because they believe it impairs their ability to communicate on the field, we don’t agree with this assessment due to the fact modern mouthguards are so easy to remove between plays.
However, for those in youth or amateur leagues, mouthguards are always highly recommended, particularly with technology meaning communication with mouthguards is becoming far easier.
The Different Types of Football Mouthguards Available
There are three main types of mouthguards. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. So, before you buy a mouthguard, do consider the pros and cons before investing.
A stock mouthguard is the cheapest of the three and often readily available from your local sports store.
They come in a limited number of sizes, which means it can sometimes be tricky to find a stock mouthguard that fits you perfectly.
Another problem is that stock mouthguards aren’t designed with the latest technology, meaning that can make talking difficult, which can be a considerable problem in team-based sports in which communication in-the-field is necessary, such as someone playing in the quarterback position.
Custom Fit Mouthguards
Custom mouthguard is the complete opposite of the stock mouthguard. As the name suggests, they are custom-fitted to your individual needs.
As such, this mouthguard guarantees maximum comfort, durability, and protection. Often this means custom guards can come with a higher price tag, but as the saying goes, you do get what you pay for. A custom mouthguard may mean a trip to your dentist since they do require specialized fitting procedures.
If you can afford a custom mouthguard, it is advised that you invest in one. However, another factor to bear in mind is that it can take some time to prepare, not ideal if you need a guard immediately.
Boil and Bite Mouthguards
This mouthguard is the jack-of-all-trades. It sits right in the middle of the custom mouthguard and the stock mouthguard in terms of price, protection, durability, comfort, and ease of use.
The boil and bite mouthguard is the most widely used type of guard out of the three options.
The fitting process is straightforward and easy to follow.
Although a boil and bite mouthguard may not be as comfortable as a custom mouthguard, the protection they offer means the gap between these two products is shortening.
You can find a dedicated guide on how to achieve a custom fit with a boil and bite mouthguard in our How-To section.
Features to Consider when Purchasing a Mouthpiece for Football
Since a mouthguard is such a low-cost investment compared to what the players might pay for dental injuries treatment, it is wise to purchase a mouthguard that gives you the maximum protection.
So, when you buy a new mouthguard, take your time and consider the following features:
Look for lip guard attachments
If you have previously tried traditional mouthguards and found they didn’t offer the level of protection you were looking for try a mouthpiece with lip guard.
Custom-fitted and boil and bite mouthguards typically do not come with lip guards since it is felt they provide enough protection already, so do make sure to check the reviews thoroughly before any purchase you make.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that a lip guard can make it hard for you to talk or breathe naturally, so consider this when you look for a new mouthguard.
Choose a style you like
Although all mouthguards resemble a familiar shape, there is still some room for custom shapes and colors and what design you go for should all depend on your taste, as we touched upon in our reviews above, Battle do a very good job of this with their mouthguards.
Considering that you will want to get your money’s worth and hope to keep your mouthguard for quite a while, you might want a mouthguard that has a style that suits your personality, and you can find various designs and styles out there.
Purchase a mouthguard with a strap if possible
Another factor to take into consideration is the strap attachment for mouthguards.
These straps stop players from losing the mouthguard, particularly as players tend to forget certain things when they are in the thick of the action and after a game.
This can mean your mouthguard might fall off without you noticing, which can be dangerous if not replace quality.
Not only this but once a mouthguard does falls off, it can be hard to find it again.
A strap attachment simply attaches the mouthguard to the helmet, so you never have to worry about losing it again.
Choose the flavor wisely
Some players like their mouthguard flavorless while some like theirs flavored. Again, it depends on your personal preference
Some players testified that wearing a flavored mouthguard makes no difference since they don’t notice the taste being there when they are in the thick of the game.
Most of the time, you will only get the taste when you first put a mouthguard on.
You can certainly get a more enjoyable experience with a mouthguard that has your favorite flavor.
Performance-wise, flavored mouthguards are no different than an unflavored mouthguard but can add a nice little addition if you want a sweet kick when you first start wearing a mouthguard.
Your mouthguard should be thick enough to absorb impact and protect your teeth.
If it is too thin, then it cannot absorb impact effectively and may break with a strong tackle. If it is too thick, then it might be uncomfortable to wear. The thickness of a mouthguard can also affect how easy it is to clean.
A mouthguard should not hinder you with physical discomfort around the mouth area.
The mouthguard should fit snug in your mouth, and you should not choke or feel uncomfortable wearing it. A mouthguard should also not make it difficult for you to talk, nor should it need to be clenched to keep it in place.
How comfortable the mouthguard is in your mouth is essential, especially if you have to wear it for a long time.
If you wear braces, then there are also different mouthguard designs available.The design of this mouthguard makes it so that it covers the brace securely. Therefore, even when the player comes receives a sharp blow around the mouth area, the braces will remain undamaged and comfortable enough to continue.