Mouth guard/piece whilst exercising?

Hi TR users

Do any of you wear a mouth guard/piece whilst riding indoors? I’ve read a bit about increased oxygen intake and lower cortisol levels as a result of wearing one whilst doing an intense workout, and wondered whether anyone can verify that through their own usage.


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I had no idea that was even a thing until you posted, so I had to Google it… it sounds horrible to me, even if there is some potential merit, e.g. per this study:
“ It can be concluded that although mouthguards may be perceptably uncomfortable and restrict forced expiratory air flow, they appear to be beneficial in prolonging exercise by improving ventilation and economy.”

(Usual caveats about this and others being quite small studies)

Have you tried it yourself?

No I’ve not tried it myself. I have recently started using Airofit which I am finding really useful and I am wondering whether using a mouth guard would complement that, or improve other aspects of breathing whilst exercising. It’s something that I have neglected for too long, and is perhaps holding me back when doing intense efforts.

I had one made for me and tried it when I was being looked at for TMJ and related migraines. I tried it in the gym but I didn’t like it and saw no noticeable improvement. The mouth guard is likely best for high intensity short bursts, such as weight lifting, American football, etc. I haven’t seen it used in endurance sports. If it worked you’d see pros use it. Maybe, there a use for sprint work :man_shrugging:t4:. But I don’t want to be using a mouth guard when I’m breathing heavily and/or trying to consume calories.


Thanks for the input. I’ve read that they are supposed to help you with your breathing during hard sessions. Apparently it is natural to clench your teeth during hard exercise sessions, which lowers the oxygen entering your body. I’m inclined to try one on some lighter VO2max sessions and see how I get on.

I wear one for mountain biking (obviously to protect my teeth but also because I’ve heard they can help to prevent or reduce severity of some concussions) and have also used them extensively while playing hockey and ther team sports. I can’t possibly imagine that they help oxygen intake and I can assure you that the first thing I want to do when activity pauses is to take the thing out so I can get a few deeper breaths in. Obviously that’s anecodatal evidence, but it would sure be counterintuitive to me that a mouthguard could help with breathing…

I’m sure other dentists will chime in…I’m a dentist with 30 years experience and am aware of “biteguard” usage which if fit/adjusted correctly, will place the patient in centric relation.

This is shown to create an improved “harmony” throughout the musculature of the entire body. This idea can be researched more if you look into “neuromuscular dentistry”.

Anyway, if one clenches their teeth into the acrylic splint during physical effort (i.e bench pressing), one may notice an increase in strength.

I don’t know if cyclists clench their teeth together during hard efforts (I certainly do not)…but that is the question. If so, then perhaps one could notice an increase in power output.

lastly, there are many types of bite guards/bitesplints. Some are designed to allow chewing muscles to relax, some are designed to aid in joint inflammation…so one has to be sure they are utilizing the right tool for the job.

I have used guards previously for rugby and MMA, and theres a big difference in the varying types as to how well you can breathe with them in. If one allows good respiratory function then i dont see why pro’s dont pick up on this. Look at the wingers in pro rugby, theyre running all the damn time. Also, the amount of people ive seen wreck their teeth when they decide to fall off the bike and use their chin to slow down, i can only see as a good thing.
i’d be tempted but i guess its one of those cycling faux pa’s if noone else does it etc.