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.