Rightly so, MMA fighters are a picky bunch when it comes to the equipment they use within the Octagon. From head guards to shin pads for sparring, debates rage around the best quality brands and products.
It was our goal to settle the debate when it comes to the best MMA mouthguard, offering unbiased, in-depth reviews so that your protection isn’t compromised in the slightest.
Our extensive review process saw each of our chosen seven mouthguards reviewed by four different MMA fighters. In total, that saw us gather a total of 28 mouthguards for this test, four of each product.
We asked each fighter to review each mouthguard for a minimum of 2 hours in total (whether grappling or rolling, that’s a lot of sparring) that saw each of our MMA fighters carry out at least 14 hours of testing. This combines for a total of 56 hours across all fighters who took part in the review process. As you can imagine, it took us a while to gather all the data and complete this article in full!
Our test fighters were asked to keep the following categories in mind while carrying out their reviews:
- Impact absorption
- Value (we provided the mouthguards but wanted those testing to consider price)
- Overall protection
Each of our MMA fighters agreed unanimously on their top choice of mouthguard for MMA and other martial arts with the OPRO Power-Fit coming out on top of the pile and king of the Octagon. One mouthguard also surprised a number of our testers, but for all the wrong reasons, find out more below.
When it comes to combat sports, OPRO mouthguards come with a considerable reputation,
They have a marketing budget to match this reputation and one of the most frequently asked questions we get asked here at Mouthguard Awareness is whether the brand lives up to this hype.
As our Muay Thai and MMA reviewers answered unanimously, we can confirm – yes, the brand does live up to the hype. Whether you’re looking for comfort or protection, you would struggle to find a guard that gets anywhere near the OPRO Power-Fit.
The most expensive mouthguard tested (but still extremely reasonably priced) we did wonder if the Power-Fit would come unstuck when it came to offering value alongside cheaper priced competitors. Again, it outperformed expectations in each of the categories we tested the mouthguards on.
“The OPRO Power-Fit was my favorite by a long, long way. There was no initial pain or discomfort when I began wearing the guard. Not only was the guard comfortable but I felt protected at all times. If my opponent did break my defense, I felt like this mouthguard kept my jaw and teeth firmly secure, not something I can say for all of the mouthguards I reviewed” mentioned one of the review fighters.
Another Muay Thai fighter added, “I just couldn’t get over how easy this mouthguard was to wear. My breathing wasn’t hampered at all, and my stamina benefited as a result.”
These reviews cover the key areas that we were looking for a mouthguard to excel within, and the OPRO Power-Fit done precisely that.
Even at its price point, we just had to rank the OPRO Power-Fit as our top pick. When it comes to MMA and other contact sports, your safety and protection should be your primary concern, either if cheaper alternatives are available.
Although our top choice was a unanimous decision and one that we had confirmed very early on in our testing process, our second choice mouthguard and the one we like to classify as the ‘best value’ was far more hotly contested. In the end, it was the Venum Challenger that our review fighters decided would be their go-to if, for whatever reason, the OPRO Power-Fit wasn’t available.
One review criteria in which the Venum Challenger did rival the OPRO Power-Fit was in comfort. One of our reviewers mentioned, “I really can’t fault the comfort of this mouthguard. I just felt like there was an extra layer of protection both on the top and bottom of the guard.”
Another comment from one of our reviewers reinforced this comfort-first approach that makes the Venum Challenger a solid choice of mouthguard for MMA. “I’ve worn a number of different mouthguards in my time both during sparring and rolling, but few have been as comfortable as this.”
Impact Custom Mouthguard
This Impact custom mouthguard has been designed specifically for MMA and combat sports including boxing in mind, and that becomes evident the moment you slip it in place.
Each of their mouthguards is aimed at making MMA, and BJJ athletes feel confident while sparring and during competitions, with their number 1 goal being to protect your teeth.
Each of our reviewers found the molding process to be incredibly straight forward, and the dental warranty is a bonus, this is one of the best guards around.
Every one of their MMA and Muay Thai mouthguards offers a custom fit and perfect comfort, providing maximum protection at minimum cost.
The custom mouthguard is ideal for athletes of all ages. Its 7mm thickness ensures massive impact absorption, while the gel-fit liner offers maximum oxygen flow allowing you to breathe and talk with ease as already covered above.
It is made of BPA free material and takes you less than three minutes to mold the mouthguard to your teeth.
One of the cons associated with this mouthguard has to be price, with a cost above over mouthguards we tested; however, the pros still far outweigh the negatives, and the custom fit nature of this guard will always mean you pay a premium.
Venum Predator Mouthguard
The Venum Predator did offer perfect fit and was one of the best guards we tested in terms of flexibility and its high impact absorption capacity.
The mouthguard, which at times feels like a custom fit, has been crafted to withstand the demands of MMA and other contact sports.
It comes with top recommendations from well-known fighters, including Lyoto Machida, which at first we were slightly hesitant about, wondering if the mouthguard would fall victim to this marketing push, however, if you’re looking to protect your teeth simply. At the same time, in the Octagon, then you won’t go too far wrong with the Venum Predator.
The mouthguard is designed to allow you to breathe and talk with ease during competition and has a high-density rubber frame for shock management.
It has an excellent shape that molds your teeth for a comfortable fit once it is aligned to your jaw, and the molding process as a whole was straightforward and easy to complete.
This dual-core mouthguard also offers intelligent impact management by absorbing shock and dispersing it to the strongest parts of your jaw, something our reviewer fighters love. “I still regard this as one of the best mouthguards I test. The gel-fit liner offered unrivaled comfort, far beyond even custom fit mouthguards I have tried in the past. I’ve heard you can also get a dental warranty with some purchases, and if that is a case, it definitely makes this mouthguard a winner.”
Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard
This mouthguard is ideal for all contact sports, and also appeared in our football mouthguard reviews, with the easy to mold guard competing on a level playing field with far more expensive custom fit mouthpieces.
It is well known for its comfort and several positive comments we received regarding this mouthguard related to how easy it felt on the teeth and gum, offering comfortable use for an extended period.
It is designed with integrated breathing channels that allow you to breathe with ease, aiding maximum performance.
The mouthguard has also recently been improved to have a convertible harness so that the Gel Max can be worn either strapped or strapless, making it more reliable for sports such as football.
SISU Aero NextGen
This mouthguard aims at offering maximum protection at minimum cost, and although it was the best mouthguard for MMA that we reviewed, we indeed found many positives with this product.
The SISU Aero NextGen mouthguard is tailored to fit athletes from the age of 11 upwards, and it is suitable for other sports basketball, lacrosse, and boxing.
The mouthguard has been improved and now features a broader bite pad around its edges for enhanced comfort and perfect fit.
It is easy to mold and remold in the comfort of your home; you only need to put it in hot boiling water for a few minutes, place it in your mouth and bite down hard.
It is only 1.66 mm thick, and it is 50% thinner than other conventional mouthguards meaning you can breathe, talk, and hydrate with ease. This did lead to some of our fighters wondering if the mouthguard offered as much protection as some of the other guards we tested, and we have heard of some wearers doubling up, wearing a mouthguard over the top of the SISU Aero for added protection.
This mouthguard is made with Diffusix technology, which allows it to distribute impact forces and shock over a large area, thus minimizing the risk of dental injury, very similar to several custom fit mouthguards we also reviewed.
The good news is that it is compatible with braces. However, you should consult a dental professional first before using it with braces to ensure you achieve the perfect fit.
This boil and bite mouthguard also comes in a range of colors, perfect for those that do martial arts but still want to show off a bit of style.
If you are serious about MMA, then you have to be serious about protecting your teeth, and the ProDefenda mouthguard a fantastic choice to do just that.
No, the ProDefenda wasn’t the best mouthguard for MMA that we tested, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right choice some of you out there, mainly if you play a mixture of sports and are also looking for a mouthguard that will serve you well on the court as well as in the Octagon.
This mouthguard features a double-layered frame for maximum shock absorption and a moldable soft-gel inner layer with a high impact outer shield that allows it to withstand even the most forceful blows. One of our reviewer MMA fanatics loved this functionality in particular. “The shock absorption of this mouthguard was mightly impressive. It wasn’t the best guard that I tested, but you can tell it has been designed by a brand that knows their stuff.”
It is a boil and bite mouthguard that is easy to use, mold, and remold when needed.
We’re also confident you will also like its anti-slip pad for maximum grip to ensure it stays in place. Our reviews found the mouthguard does not shift even after a hard kick to the face or mouth.
Why You Need To Do Your Research When Buying an MMA Mouthguard
The most significant advantage of wearing a mouthguard is obviously for protection and reducing the risk of any injury – When people think of injuries related to MMA, they tend to focus on sore joints and joints dislocation, bruising and hypertension. What they tend to ignore is the probability of dental and mouth injuries.
An unexpected blow during grappling or sparring can quite easily lead to broken or chipped teeth.
You have probably seen such cases where fighters have blood flowing from their mouth at the end of a contest, quite simply, mouthguards aim to prevent these scenarios.
Breaking a tooth could end up costing you thousands of dollars to have it fixed. Why go through all that trouble when it can be avoided simply by buying a much cheaper mouthguard?
Experienced fighters will know the dangers only too well, but some of the risks that you could face in Octagon include:
Soft tissue damage – When fighting, you may fall or receive an impact that causes you to bit your lip. This tissue takes longer to heal, and the pain can affect your performance.
What’s worse? You could bite your tongue instead, and in a worse scenario, you could have a severe bite that requires stitching. Wearing a mouthguard can eliminate these risks in some cases.
Dental injuries – What is worse than receiving news that your dentist has to have your tooth implanted. That could be the equivalent to eight months without rolling.
Benefits of wearing a mouthguard include:
Enhancing confidence – Another reason to put on a mouthguard every time you step into a ring or Octagon is to have the peace of mind you need while on the training and sparring.
This boost in confidence can also enhance concentration and lead to all-around better performance.
Hopefully, this has helped you to realize the importance of mouthguards when it comes to MMA and BJJ; now, it is time to take the next step to look ahead to making a purchase.
However, you do not want just to buy a mouthpiece for the sake of it. You must ensure that you get the best mouthguard for your needs.
Factors to consider when buying a mouthguard for MMA
When it comes to appearances, regardless of brands or manufacturers, most mouthguards resemble each other quite closely.
However, the guards are not as similar as you may think based on their looks and designs.
There are several factors that you must consider to help you make a sound decision; these factors include:
Protection – The best mouthguard is the one that provides maximum protection.
Make sure that any mouthguard you choose offers protection on the most vulnerable areas, which include the molars, front teeth, tongue, and lips.
Size – Size is another crucial factor that you shouldn’t neglect.
The weight of a mouthpiece will be based on your preference. Some people love bulky mouthguards as they feel that they provide better shock absorption.
However, before getting a large mouth protector, ensure that you are comfortable with it and that it does not stick out of your mouth, which can lead to more damage if caught.
Comfort – For some, comfort is as important as protection.
Never choose an uncomfortable mouthguard just because you think that it is the right one for your protection needs.
It is also vital to make sure that any mouthpiece you choose does not affect your breathing and ability to talk.
You must be comfortable and at ease while in the zone within a ring or Octagon.
Consider personalization – It is good to go for something that suits your style and preferences too.
Look beyond performance and go for the right color and flavor. Do not put something with an awful taste to your mouth.
Fit – Putting on a mouthguard that does not fit you correctly can result in problems when you are hit.
If you are purchasing a custom mouthguard, make sure that your dentist gets the right impression of your mouth. Also, if you are wearing a boil and bite mouthguard, make sure you mold it properly by boiling it for the right amount of time.
Consider a mouthguard for braces – If you have braces, you know how expensive they are.
They are an investment that needs protection as they are prone to damage from time to time.
Ensure that the mouthguard you choose offers proper protection without interference. The best mouthguards for braces are custom guards, as your dentist can have it structured to protect the wires and brackets adequately.
Also, the right mouthguard should be easy to maintain. You do not want to collect infections from wearing an unclean guard covered with molds and bacteria.
The right mouthguard ensures that you are saving oral care expenses and time spent out of your favorite sport.
Why Mouthguards Are So Important
We encounter countless cases of teeth being avulsed every year due to sports-related activities, a high percentage of which are connected with MMA and Muay Thai.
As anyone who has ever been in a fight without a mouthguard will know there aren’t many less pleasant feelings that your top and bottom teeth colliding with each other after a blow to the head or face. The injuries that can result from this are countless; not only are dental injuries a concern, but fractures and bone damage to the surrounding jaw area are also more prevalent in fighters who don’t wear mouthguards.
It is also worth mentioning that mouthguards won’t help to prevent all head injuries. Unfortunately, injuries and concussions are part and parcel of contact sports, including MMA and Muay Thai.
Our Testing Process in More Detail
We’ve received several questions already relating to our testing process and asking for more details of the reviews we have carried out.
Why Did We Only Review Single Mouthguards?
For amateur MMA fighters, single mouthguards are by far the most affordable and readily available type of guard.
Single mouthguards that sit only on the top layer of teeth are also far more comfortable, and the ability to be able to breathe more efficiently is a huge advantage.
Why Did We Not Carry Out Blind Tests?
After our successful boxing mouthguard review, this is a question we often get asked. Quite simply, blind tests are quite challenging to organize logistically. Not only that, but carrying out the reviews in the way we have for MMA guards means we were able to compile far more hours of testing, 56 hours in total in fact, over two days of combined reviews.