Mouthpiece for better athletic performance

July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Athletes have been wearing mouthpieces for years to prevent any dental injuries.  New performance mouthpieces are based on the premise that jaw position can have a significant impact on athletic performance. Research suggests that the position of the jaw influences the entire bodies musculature. In addition, the use of these mouthpieces enables better oygen intake, reduces lactic acid, and lowers cortisol production.

From the late 70’s to early 90’s there have been numerous reports and antetodal evidence regarding such devices.   Around 1996, Tufts  A series of well-designed, well-controlled studies examining jaw position and strength under a number of different conditions were published; these studies showed significant improvements in strength while using well-designed oral appliances.

In 1999, the University of Tennessee examined how the device affects strength and endurance, measuring grip strength as well as heart rate and blood pressure during aerobic exercise. Results proved its effectiveness.

A study in 2008 at  Rutgers  found that athletes wearing Pure Power Mouthguards could jump higher and perform better at their peak.

Although a better understanding of this link, and further research is necessary to draw conclusions on this subject, the use of mouthpieces do look promising.  In fact, several professional athletes have started using them such as Shaq, Manny Ramariez, Derek Jeter, Adrian Peterson.

Under Armour has begun marketing their own product in stores, along with several other brands.

We should not overlook the impact of a placebo effect, which in itself can produce significant results. Mouthpieces are never going to dramatically improve athletic performance and potential.  But for higher level athletes, every last bit makes a difference in competition.  Time will tell whether this is a clever marketing gimic, or a legitimate performance enhancer.

Resources and References:

9.    Abduljabbar T, Mehta NR, Forgione AG, et al. Effect of increased maxilla-mandibular relationship on isometric strength in TMD patients with loss of vertical dimension of occlusion. Cranio. 1997;15(1):57-67.
10.    AL-Abbasi H, Mehta NR, Forgione AG. The effect of vertical dimension and mandibular position on isometric strength of the cervical flexors. Cranio. 1999;17(2):85-92.
11.    Chakfa AM, Mehta NR, Forgione AG, et al. The effect of stepwise  increases in vertical dimension of occlusion on isometric strength of  cervical flexors and deltoid muscles in nonsymptomatic females. Cranio. 2002;20(4):264-273.
12.    Abdallah EF, Mehta NR, Forgione AG. Affecting upper extremity strength by changing maxilla-mandibular vertical dimension in deep bite subjects. Cranio. 2004;22(4):268-275.,9171,2007404,00.html



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