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If you’re involved in any team sport that requires a mouthguard, you’ve probably started to give this safety piece a little more consideration than the past generation of athletes. With today’s rising concerns on sports injuries and impact-induced concussions, the margins on this formerly over-looked product are growing, resulting in innovative materials and features. Looking for something beyond the standard issue? Here is everything you need to know and more. This is The Ultimate Mouth Guard Guide.

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Where To Begin

There are four categories of mouthguards to choose from: Custom-Made, Mouth-Formed (or “Boil and Bite”), Ready-to-Wear, and Commercial. Ranging in price and quality, custom-made guards are the most expensive and therefore the most comfortable. These guards offer the highest level of protection, and are made with the help of dental professionals to ensure a perfect mold of your teeth. The most popular type of guard is the mouth-formed version, which is made of a special rubber designed to become pliable when boiled or heated and then easily conformed to your mouth. Finally, there are ready-to-wear and commercial versions, both of which are designed to fit a wide variety of mouths for a lower price point.

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Got Braces? No Problem

Try Out: Battle Sports Science Ever-Mold Mouthguard

Metal in your mouth ain’t a problem anymore, thanks to Battle Sport’s Ever-Mold composite. Made to dampen impact for top and bottom teeth, the Battle Mouthguard is made with higher-wall construction for maximum jaw stabilization and an advanced composite to protect your teeth and any dental appliances.

$12

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Need A Strap?

Try Out: Shock Doctor

Many brands offer strapped or convertible strapped mouth guards. Shock Doctor has a huge variety of strapped options ranging from $9 - $20, available in ready-to-wear models with gel inserts or for those wearing braces.

$10

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Capturing the Science of Sport

Try Out: Under Armour UA AmourBite Mouthguard

The Under Armour UA AmourBite Mouthguard goes beyond basic protection with a design that pivots your jaw forward to reduce your body’s production of performance-sapping cortisol and maximizing oxygen intake. Truthfully, if you have an extremely sensitive gag reflex, this may not be the guard for you, but if you don’t mind the extra bit of plastic, then why not give the PowerWedge technology a go?

$30

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Looking to Make a Statement?

Try Out: SportGuard

If you’re into letting your mouthguard do the talking, you’ll want to check out SportsGuard’s graphic offerings. Designs are available on custom fit guards or boil-n-bite versions, ranging in price from $3 to $130. Go throw the competition with a set of sport-appropriate gold fronts.

$50

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Hate the Flavor?

Try Out: Mogo

Athletes are willing shell out a couple hundred for a helmet, so why not invest properly in a mouth guard? A few companies offer flavored models to satisfy players. MoGo makes a point, “What do most of us do the moment the whistle blows to stop the action? We pull out our mouthguard out. Then we hang it out of our moth or we chew it. Some of us will jam it into our helmets. Others will stuff it down their gloves (yes, that is gross).” Looking to improve the game-time experience, MoGo’s M1 Flavored Mouthguard is embedded into the plastic for everlasting flavor; choose from fruit punch, orange, blue raspberry, lemon, mint, and bubblegum.

$12

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Need Some Air?

Try Out: Under Armour’s UA ArmourShield MouthGuard

For players that hate the idea of a chunk of plastic in their mouth, Under Armour’s UA ArmourShield MouthGuard features a patented polymer shrink for easy breathing. Talking is a bit easier in this ArmourShield equipped mouth piece, set with shock-absorbing, protective inserts and a convertible strap.

$20

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Try Out: Markwort’s Vettex Mouthguards

Easily one of the most popular brands used by high schools and colleges across the country, Markwort’s Vettex Mouthguards come cheap ($6.99!) and colorful (17 colors!) and are made to protect teeth and lips.

$7

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Find the One That is Right For You

Most schools supply mouth guards along with any other padding or gear you might need once the season begins, but taking a little extra time to research the gear that’s best for you will make you feel and look better, which can only result in a better performance. Whether you’re looking to throw some G’s on it with a full-on custom guard or simply go with a new flavor, check with a professional to make sure you have the proper fit before the season starts.

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