Athletic Mouthguards and Endurance

Does a mouthguard enhance performance during strength and endurance exercise?  The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends mouthguards to protect against tooth and mouth damage during sports.  But there is a recent trend of increased use of mouthguards for performance enhancement.  Some endurance athletes feel that they recover more quickly after training and can run at a higher intensity when they wear a mouthpiece than if not wearing one.  Another study showed that football players had increased muscular strength when they wore a mouthguard adjusted kinesiologically as opposed to an unadjusted mouthguard.

Several other studies have tried to determine if there is a positive effect and if so, what is the physiological mechanism.  There is evidence that there is improved airway dynamics in athletes who wear a custom-fitted mouthguard.   There may be improved gas exchange and improved lactate levels.  Intriguing – and more research is needed.

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