The Best Mouth Guards for MMA

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MMA is a complex and fast paced sport. Anything can happen at any time. An unexpected foot across your jaw, or a surprise uppercut could land you in a heap of bother if you don’t have the proper protection. So you’re probably wondering about the best mouth guards for MMA so you can avoid injury and keep all your teeth in your mouth!

Your technique on defense counts for a lot when fighting an opponent. And in a sport like MMA, there is a limited amount of protection we can give ourselves. In a match fight the level of base protection is severely low unlike any other sport on the planet.

But one of the primary tools we have for protection of one of our most attacked areas is to wear a mouth guard.

Whether you are a beginner having only had light sparring sessions, or an advanced fighter and think you’re too good to get hit – either way you will get hit eventually. Hard, right on the chin. The mouth guard is your last line of defence to save you from losing a few teeth and some marbles as well.

In this article I’m going to describe everything you need to know about choosing the right mouth guard.

Quick Favourites

Name Venum Challenger Mouthguard Shock Doctor Pro Impact Custom Shock Doctor Gel Max Nxtrnd Zero
Feature Popular for MMA Cheap Custom like the Pros Best Seller Super thin
Our Rating 4.5/5 4.2/5 4.7/5 4.3/5 4.2/5
Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

Picking a mouth guard

How does a mouth guard work?

A mouth guard fits inside of your mouth usually on the upper teeth. This helps to protect you from losing a tooth during sparring or a fight.

The strong material surrounding your teeth will help to keep them in place. It acts as a barrier and shock absorber for any blows.
Wearing a mouth guard also helps to reduce soft tissue damage around the jaw and face. That’s because when worn right it helps to reduce the impact.

Choosing the right mouth guard

When picking out a mouth guard, you should be most aware of getting the right fit for your mouth.

Having a mouth guard that fits well is fundamental to its purpose of protecting your teeth and jaw. You likely don’t want to lose a tooth or end up with long term jaw pain.

Typical mouth guards are one size fits all. That’s because your teeth set is unlikely to be very different from any other person. Your usual boil and bite mouth guard is flexible enough to adapt for a wider set of teeth.

But you should make sure to buy a mouth guard that is for your age and teeth development. If you’re buying for a child, make sure it’s child size (10 years old and younger). If you’re buying for an adult, make sure it’s an adult size (11 years old and older).
For a unique set of teeth you will want to consider looking at custom mouth guard options.

Custom mouth guards are much more expensive but give the greatest protection because they have been designed for your teeth.

What are the advantages of using a mouth guard?

Wearing a mouth guard protects your teeth from falling out. It also helps you absorb impacts to the teeth, jaw and face and reduce related injuries.

Not only that, wearing a mouth guard helps you to practice MMA with better form and with more confidence.

In Boxing and Muay Thai, you will learn early on that biting down on your mouth guard is a part of your striking arsenal. By biting down on your mouth guard and advancing against your opponent you can take several more blows to the face whilst attacking.

Biting down can also help you with some of your fundamental strikes like the cross with your rear fist. It can be called your power shot or a “2”. The biting down and action of throwing your punch can help you to create more power and be more explosive.

A good fitted mouth guard also helps in BJJ, as rogue elbows, knees and feet to the face are all too common. Having a mouth guard in place whilst rolling will help you to avoid losing teeth. At any level, wearing a mouth guard is a good idea.

Things to look for in a good mouth guard

The first thing you should consider is that you buy a mouth guard which is suitable for “full contact sports”. Better yet, make sure to get one that claims as being suitable for Boxing or MMA.

There could be mouth guards out there which are good enough for light and low impact sports. But for MMA, you should always think about getting the most protection you can get.

Always, at least, be looking for a mouth guard with boil and bite customisation. There are many mouth guards available on the market, including ones without boil and bite. You can get a good mouth guard (with boil and bite) for a reasonable price so there isn’t a good reason not to get one. Boil and bite will create a tight seal between your teeth and the guard, lowering chances for damage.

Don’t be cheap for your mouth guard. You should invest into a high quality mouth guard. Your teeth won’t change very often if you look after them and so you won’t need to replace your mouth guard very often. Buy it once and with high quality!

And finally, consider the amount of airflow you need. If your mouth guard has a lot of excess material covering your mouth opening, it could harm your ability to take in oxygen when you need it to perform.

Use your mouth guard the right way

If you get the classic boil and bite mouth guard then make sure to follow the instructions so you get a nice fit.

The usual method is to first put it in boiling water then allow it to cool and then insert into your mouth to mould the gel against your teeth.

Your mouth guard should fit snug against your upper teeth. If you feel like you need to suck it back up or push it in at all, then it very likely is not a good fit for you.

Some mouth guards will be suitable for re-boiling to get a better fit if the first time didn’t work well. I recommend that you try to get it right the first time, as the guard might not adapt so well on another attempt.

Single or Double mouth guard?

You might come across options for a double mouth guard which has a guard for your upper and lower teeth.

Whether you need it could be down to any unusual teeth problems you have. For most people, it isn’t necessary. In fact, using a double mouth guard could further restrict the oxygen you can get when you need it.

A double mouth guard gives the most protection but could can harm being able to bite down like we talked about earlier.
If you look at professional MMA, Muay Thai and Boxing athletes you will usually see that they wear a single mouth guard and get the protection they need.

Custom or Boil and Bite?

When browsing for your mouth guard, you will see options for complete custom mouth guards alongside boil and bite. So which is better?

Without a doubt, a custom mouth guard will offer you the best protection, fit and likely comfort. Custom mouth guards are much more expensive than other options, sometimes 5x as much.

A boil and bite mouth guard is good enough on protection, fit and comfort. They are also inexpensive. The priority, after all, should be on making sure you have protection in place. Boil and bite mouth guards meet this need.

If price is an important factor for you, then you will most likely be happy with a boil and bite mouth guard.
If you want what the pros wear, and price isn’t a problem, you should take a look at getting a custom fit mouth guard. You’re a pro in training, after all!

The fitting for a custom mouth guard is usually slightly different as the mould must be made of your teeth and sent back to the provider. With the mould, they will create youe custom mouth guard which will offer the best level of protection and comfort fit.

Top 5 Best Mouth Guards for MMA

Venum Challenger

Our Rating: 4.5/5

The Venum is one of the most bought on this list. The Venum Challenger has near perfected its design with this mouth guard to make it suitable for the variety of combat sports you will encounter. Tried and testing by thousands, it usually offers the best experience with a very moldable gel for the boil and bite setup.

Pros Cons
Exclusive breathing channel design Could be too small fit for some people
Wide range of colour combinations to choose from Important to get the boil and bite process right on the first try

Shock Doctor Pro

Our Rating: 4.3/5

If you’re looking for that cheap-but-good option then the Shock Doctor Pro is for you. It has a very classic fit with a moldable seal for both front and back of your upper teeth which could help some folks with having a tight fit.

Pros Cons
Very cheap Could be difficult to mould for some people due to strong material
Works with braces Large areas are mouldable, which could cause problems during the boil and bite
Highly shock absorbant Doesn’t come with a carry case

Impact Custom

Our Rating: 4.7/5

This one’s for the big dogs. Or at least, those who want to be a big dog. Professional MMA fighters use custom fitting mouth guards like this one offered by Impact. You’ll receive a custom fitting toolset in your package to create a perfect mould of your mouth right at home. Then just send it away to them for your perfect mouth guard to be delivered to you.

It’s not cheap, but it’s likely to give you the very best in mouth guard protection, comfort, style and all-aroundn badassery.

Pros Cons
The best fit a man can get Quite thick mouth guard (due to protection)
Looks badass Expensive
BPA free
Many unique designs to choose from

Shock Doctor Gel Max

Our Rating: 4.3/5

The doctor’s other child, the Gel Max is one of the best selling mouth guards on the internet. This mouth guard offers a sizeable gel top that when moulding to fit can provide many people with a great fit due to the extra gel. The guard typically expands up to 20% during moulding so be sure to follow the instructions carefully and you’ll get a good fit.

Pros Cons
Highly tested by thousands Non-gel parts can be a bit restrictive which might result in a bad fit for some people with wider jaw
Extra gel usually results for a great fit for many Flavored gel which can be strange for some
Very durable for grinders

TNxtrnd Zero

Our Rating: 4.4/5

Nxtrnd are typically a known brand amongst football and lacrosse players due to their popular Nxtrnd One mouth guard which offers lip protection. But recently, Nxtrnd have expanded further into other markets including this option for MMA enthusiasts. It boasts a 1.6mm ulta thin design and allows for extra airflow to allow you to continue to speak an drink water more comfortably whilst wearing it.

Pros Cons
Ultra thin design Due to thin design, can have a smaller window of opportunity for a good fit on the first boil and bite
Talk and drink comfortably whilst wearing Generally not as good a fit as a gel based guard
Impact padding protects molars

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, picking the right mouth guard for you is going to come down to how sensitive you are to the price and if you are really picky, colours and appearance of the guard.

Most boil and bite mouth guards are within a similar price range and very affordable for most people. But If I was to pick one out of the options, I recommend the Venum Challenger because Venum is a known brand for boxing and MMA products. I feel more confident in their ability to create products for this purpose, unlike some of the other options on this list.

But if you wanted to go for the absolute best, then consider a custom mouth guard like the Impact Custom which will give you MMA pro level protection.

If you’re after a minimal option to have the thinnest mouth guard available then the Nxtrnd Zero is one for you.

You might find that some guards simply don’t fit your teeth very well and if the first attempt at a boil and bite doesn’t work out, you’ll have to dig into your pocket quick for the next one. If you are worried about this, you could try buying a cheap mouth guard to test the process and get comfortable with what you need to do. But be warned that the boil and bite instructions could change between products.

And there you have it, my best advice for picking out a mouth guard and which to go for. Grab your mouth guard, get in the ring, and show ’em what you’re made of!

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