Improvements in muscular power and anaerobic performance have resulted from the use of jaw-repositioning mouth guards designed with advanced dental techniques. The high cost of such techniques has dissuaded the widespread use. Recently, more affordable, over-the-counter (OTC) jaw-repositioning mouth guards have become available. The primary objective of this study was to examine the effects of 2 OTC jaw-repositioning mouth guards on muscular power and strength performance in college-aged male athletes. It was hypothesized that similar to previous observations with advanced dentistry-designed mouth guards, OTC jaw-repositioning mouth guards would impart positive effects on muscular power but not have any effect on muscular strength. Secondary objectives of this study included the examination of the effects of 2 OTC jaw-repositioning mouth guards on other variables related to athletic performance. Male collegiate athletes (N = 20) participated in 4 separate testing sessions that consisted of assessment of muscular power, dynamic balance, flexibility, agility, and muscular strength. The 4 conditions, 1 per testing session, were assigned in a randomized order and consisted of a no-mouth guard control (CON), a placebo mouth guard, a self-adapted jaw-repositioning mouth guard (SA), and a custom-fitted jaw-repositioning mouth guard (CF). No significant differences were observed between conditions in muscular power (p = 0.78), dynamic balance (p = 0.99), agility (p = 0.22), or muscular strength (p = 0.47). The CF had significantly lower hip flexion than the CON (p = 0.014) and had significantly greater lumbar spine lateral flexion compared with the SA condition (p = 0.054). However, these flexibility differences lack practical relevance as the effect sizes remain very small (ES = -0.27 and -0.14, respectively). In conclusion, the jaw-repositioning technique used in the design of these OTC mouth guards did not affect performance. It is important to note that negative effects were not observed indicating that mouth guard use did not impede performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Athletic performance
- Dental occlusion