Most of us need no convincing of the importance of mouthguards for playing hockey. The risk of the impact of a ball, a stick or a player bugging into your mouth can knock some teeth out. That is in some of the more fortunate cases. We are talking of pucks moving at over 120km/hr, and players skating at over 40km/hr. We will not cover the worst-case scenarios, as I am sure you get the picture. Studies have shown that not only do mouthguards protect your teeth, they also reduce the risk of concussion by close to 50%.
Choosing the right mouthguard is of utmost importance. Having a low quality one in your mouth is often akin to not having one at all. We have done some extensive research to find the best products on the market to protect yourself during the game or in practice. Before we go through the product, let’s start with a Buying guide.
Why you need to wear a mouthguard
We have already touched on this in the introduction. A mouthguard provides essential protection to your teeth and jaws during a game of ice hockey. As you will find out later in the article, there are certain laws that make this a requirement.
They protect your teeth
A 2018 study of oral injuries resulting from ice hockey in the province of Alberta between 2001 and 2016 found that oral injuries make up a third of all injuries. Wearing a mouthguard in place reduces the severity of injuries or prevents them altogether.
They protect your jaw
Jaw injuries are a result of the impact and resultant shock. A mouthguard plays a massive role in absorbing shock and diffusing impact energy. That reduces the chances of sustaining an injury.
The rules about mouthguards in hockey
Rules pertaining to the use of mouthguards in hockey are different from one league to another. They also vary based on the level that you are playing. Rule 304(f) of the USA Hockey Rule book mandates the wearing of mouthguards, which it refers to as mouthpieces by players of ages 19 and below.
In Canada, players are required to wear mouthguards if they are not wearing a full cage. That applies to those wearing visors or helmets that do not provide complete protection to the mouth region. A warning is usually given out by the official for the first violation of this rule, and the player is suspended until a mouthpiece is used.
What to look for in a good mouthguard
The main thing to look for in your mouthguard is efficiency. You want it to provide the required protection. There are a few other things that you should also consider.
You want to purchase a mouthguard that you are comfortable wearing. That reduces the need to adjust it. A mouthguard that isn’t comfortable is one that you will be less likely to wear. Part of the comfort is the function. A good mouthguard lets you speak freely while wearing it. Being able to breathe is vital.
You cannot get better protection from a mouthguard than one that is custom-fitted. It is designed to match the structure of your teeth and jaws. Not only are they easier to put on, they feel so comfortable you may forget that you have one on. There are two avenues for getting one of these. Mail order companies offer a custom fit option. You can also get your dentist to do your fitting.
Dental warranty is the perfect indicator of a mouthguard that is worth your while. Most mouthguards will come with this. It is part of the fine print. You will find what sort of coverage they provide in such sections. In some cases, they will cover any out of pocket dental costs that result from an injury that occurs where their mouthguard should have protected you. It is important to register your product to activate the warranty. The period of cover will vary from a year to two for the most part.
Hockey Mouthguard Reviews
#1. Shock Doctor Double Braces
If you are after a mouthguard that provides protection for both upper and lower teeth, this could be the one for you. It is available in a strapped and strapless variation. The strapped version can be tethered to a helmet. The design of this mouthguard is such that it can be used in combination with braces. In fact, it is designed to adjust to the positioning of teeth as the orthodontics work their magic. Its ergonomic design means that it sits comfortably, offering equal protection to lower and upper teeth.
Whether you choose to go with or without the strap, you will find that the mouthguard is easy to fit into your mouth. You will be pleased to know that the manufacturers have tested this mouthguard across various sports. That gives it added versatility. It is made out of medical-grade silicone. Not only does that make it comfortable, but it also means that it is durable.
As far as dental warranty is concerned, Shock Doctor provides cover of up to $10 000.
- It meets national and state requirements.
- Comes with $10 000 warranty cover.
- Does not contain latex, BPA or Phthalate.
- Can be worn with braces.
- The form can be too rigid for some users.
#2. OPRO Power Fit
The dual layer shell on this mouthguard means that there is a great surface area for impact force to be spread. That is a sure way to reduce the risk of injury. What makes the OPro Power fit unique are the fitting fins. These give you the sort of feel that is often associated with a custom fit. The fins break down during fitting to give you a precise fit. Once you have completed the fitting process you will be able to talk and breathe with ease. The entire fitting process takes no more than 3 minutes under normal circumstance.
You will be pleased to know that the use cases are not limited to hockey. It can be used for other impact sports such as MMA, boxing, and rugby. OPRO is the official mouthguard of the UFC, New Zealand Rugby, England Hockey, USA wrestling and others. If that is not the best vote of confidence, nothing is. You can also find solace in that it comes with an extended 18 Month $20,000 Dental Warranty cover.
- Highly regarded among professionals.
- The fins make it easier to fit.
- It is easy to mould.
- Comes with a great set of instructions.
- The back fold too easily.
#3. Shock Doctor Nano 3D
It is geared towards the younger players and those that are after a thin, lightweight option. The Monocoque Shock Frame works to disperse the impact from the point of impact, across the mouthguard. That reduces the force in any individual area. From a more practical standpoint, the Exclusive Nano Inner Wall works to minimise the interference on the tongue. That makes it easier for users to breathe and speak. It is also ⅓ smaller than the average mouthguard.
You have the Tri-Bite in place to align and stabilise the upper and lower jaws. That makes for a better fit and enhanced protection. The Gel-Fit Liner means that the mouthguard will mould to your teeth for a precise fit.
- There are different colours to choose from.
- It is thin and lightweight.
- It is easy to get a custom mould fit.
- Facilitates breathing and speaking.
- Does not come with a strap.
#4. SISU Mouthguards Aero
If the convention is not what you are looking for, then this might be the one for you. The SISU Mouthguards Aero carries half the thickness of the average mouthguard. According to the manufacturer, their slim custom fitting product allows you to breathe and drink without having to remove it. The advantage of that is you will not have to handle it, which helps maintain hygiene.
From a more practical side, it has Diffusix technology that works to distribute the force of impact. The perforation pattern has been optimised to enhance protection and comfort. You can buy this product in three main sizes; small, medium and large. Another feature worth mentioning is the wider bite pad. It contributes to better breathing.
- It is easy to mould and remould.
- It is available in various colours.
- There are three sizes to choose from.
- Allows you to drink with it in your mouth.
- The fitting can take some practice to get right.
#5. Venum Challenger
The challenger is designed with contact sports including martial arts in mind. It features a lower rubber frame that halts the shock waves that are generated on impact. They are dispersed in the direction of the strongest teeth, which minimises the chances of a severe injury. The gel frame makes it easier to adjust the mouthguard to give you a fitting that you are comfortable with. The design has been improved from its predecessors. It places a greater emphasis on facilitating breathing.
The brand is known for working with athletes within MMA, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Karate, among other sports. If their products are good enough for that level, they are good enough for us.
- It comes with a sanitary case.
- Does a great job of managing shock.
- Has comprehensive instructions for fitting.
- There are several colours to choose from.
- Durability is not consistent.
Having read this article, the importance of a good mouthguard cannot be lost on you. Which one of the five above do you fancy? We have placed them in an order that makes it easy for you to select one. If you are not settled on one, be sure to check out the Shock Doctor Double Braces. It is made out of medical-grade silicone. The manufacturers have tested it across several sporting disciplines.