5 Best Mouthguards For Basketball In 2021

Do you need to make a quick decision? If you want to know what my pick is for the best basketball mouthguard, then I’d recommend SISU Aero Mouthguard as the best one.

All sports carry some degree of risk for dental injury. People who engage in contact sports such as basketball are exposed to a higher risk of having these injuries. It is not uncommon for your competitors’ arms and elbows to accidentally hit you in the face while playing. What can you do to protect yourself from tooth fractures, dislocation, and oral lacerations? Read on to learn more.

In this article, I will be sharing with you my top choices for the best mouthguards for basketball:

Benefits Of Wearing A Mouthguard

Should you wear a mouthguard when playing basketball? The answer is yes. A mouthguard protects your teeth and soft tissues by cushioning the impact from a sudden blow. At least two separate studies have cited the protective benefit of wearing a mouthguard in basketball: a 1989 study by T McNutt and a 2005 study by D Kumamoto. Recommendations to make the use of mouthguards mandatory in basketball as well as the establishment of programs to encourage athletes to use them have been stated by both studies respectively.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure. Wearing the appropriate gear to protect your mouth from sudden force will save you from pain, downtime during recovery, and dental bills in the future.

Types Of Mouthguards

There are three types of mouthguards available in the market. I will go through the advantages and disadvantages of each so you will be better informed.

  1. Stock Mouthguard

These mouthguards are readily available in a retail store and are inexpensive. Stock mouthguards do not provide a method for adjustment. I do not recommend a stock mouthguard in general. Although they are very economical in terms of price, it is difficult to find a good fit. Fit is a key factor in selecting a mouthguard. I discuss this in a lot more detail in the next section and why I do not recommend this type of mouthguard.

  1. Boil and Bite Or Mouth-Formed Protectors

There are two subtypes under this category. The first are the shell-liners which come with two layers – a preformed shell or frame made of plastic or rubber and a lining material usually made of gel. The lining is the one that forms to the player’s teeth. The second type are the ones made of thermoplastic. This type needs to be immersed in hot water to soften. It is then cooled to a tolerable temperature before being placed in the mouth for molding using the fingers, tongue and biting or sucking motions.

This is the most popular type of mouthguard used for sports and represents good value in terms of fit, comfort, availability and cost.

  1. Custom Mouthguard

This type of mouthguard as the name suggests, is tailored to an individual’s specifications. The fitting and design of the mouthguard is done by a dentist who then sends the measurements over to a professional laboratory to be executed. This is the most expensive type of mouthguard. Apart from the cost, you also need to consider the waiting period while the laboratory prepares your mouthguard.

Custom mouthguards offer the best fit since this will be catered specifically to your dental measurements. A custom-made one will also feel the most comfortable and will be designed to make it easy for you to breathe, speak and drink while having the mouthguard on.

I recommend going for a good quality boil and bite mouthguard at the minimum and a custom one if your budget allows it. I have looked at a number of options which I talk about in detail in a later section.

What To Consider When Choosing A Mouthguard For Basketball?

It is important to look at the following factors when selecting a mouthguard. This will help you find the one that best suits your needs. 

  1. Fit

Fit is the most important factor when choosing a mouthguard. A well-fitted mouthguard will ensure adequate protection, comfort and will not obstruct your breathing and ability to speak.

You must be able to position your mouthguard properly in your mouth when you are wearing it. It should not slip as you move about during the game. An improperly positioned mouthguard may poke into the soft tissues in your mouth while you play and will feel unpleasant.

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The size must be right for your jaw to ensure comfort. A mouthguard that is too small will not provide the needed coverage to protect your teeth and gums. A mouthguard that is too big will extend out of your mouth unnecessarily and will feel awkward and difficult to use. 

A good mouthguard should not obstruct your breathing and restrict you from communicating with your team. Difficulty in performing any of these will have an impact on how you play. It should also not make it cumbersome for you to take a sip of water to rehydrate if needed. If you are finding it hard to perform these actions when you wear your mouthguard then you need to re-examine the fit.

A mouthguard will only be useful if you are actually wearing it. You will not wear something that causes you difficulty and discomfort. For this reason, I don’t recommend choosing a stock mouthguard as the likelihood of getting an ill-fitting one is pretty high. Most boil and bite mouthguards do allow the flexibility of re-adjusting if the initial fit is not optimal so these are definitely better options. A custom one is the best and you should look into this if your budget allows. 

  1. Impact protection

Impact absorbing materials such as thermoplastic and EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) are commonly used for mouthguards. There are a few challenges with assessing the impact protection provided by commercially available mouthguards.

First, there is very little information available from manufacturers of mouthguards about the materials used for their products and how they make them. Second, even if they make this information available, the average consumer will not be able to understand most of the jargon. 

A 2004 study by Patrick DG et al, proposed a 0-10 grading system to make it easy for consumers to make this decision. In this grading system, they place the no mouthguard at 0 level protection, stock mouthguards at 1, boil and bite mouthguards at 2 and custom mouthguards from 3 to 10. This supports what I have earlier recommended to go for a boil and bite mouthguard at a minimum then a custom one if your budget allows.

  1. Other items included in the package

Dental warranty and a mouthguard case are the other items that may come with your purchase of a mouthguard. While these are not the primary factors that you need to take into consideration, these certainly add value to the purchase.

I strongly recommend getting a case for your mouthguard if it did not come with one. A case is inexpensive and will help prolong the life of your mouthguard. It will keep it free from dirt and protect it from going out of shape when you are not wearing it.

Dental warranty or insurance is a good way for a mouthguard company to show that they stand by their products. The ones I’ve seen are in the range of USD 10,000 to around USD 50,000 and are valid for around a year from the date of purchase. I would approach this as more of a nice-to-have rather than a make or break criteria since your goal for getting a mouthguard is to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place.

  1. Price

We all have budgets to stick to and what I would suggest here is that you go for the best possible option that you can afford. The price that you pay for getting a mouthguard for protection will be far less than what it would cost you for the pain and expenses that you will incur to fix your teeth after an accident.

How To Clean And Care For Your Mouthguard

  1. Clean your mouthguard using a toothbrush and toothpaste after every use. Use cool water. Hot water can trigger the material to soften and go out of shape. If you are not able to brush it after a basketball game, rinse it with clean water and wipe dry with a clean cloth before storing. Clean it as soon as you get home.
  2. Always store your mouthguard in the case. This will protect it from dirt and prevent it from going out of shape and getting crushed in your gym bag.
  3. Keep your mouthguard case clean by washing it with water and soap or dishwashing liquid.
  4. Do not chew on your mouthguard.

5 Best Basketball Mouthguards

Now that you have enough information, let’s take a look at the best basketball mouthguards that you can buy.

1. SISU Aero Mouthguard

The SISU Aero mouthguard is made of a tough, non-toxic thermoplastic material that is free from BPA (bisphenol A), BPS (bisphenol S), latex, PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) and phthalate. This mouthguard is thinner than a conventional mouthguard. It has a very slim design with a thickness of only 1.6 mm for the small and medium sizes and 2.0 mm for the large size making it very comfortable to wear. It will not hinder you from breathing, talking and drinking when you have it on.

SISU’s sizing system is based on the player’s height. The taller you are, the larger your dental arch. You should purchase a small if your height is below five feet, medium if you are between five to six feet and large if your height is above six feet. The medium and large sizes are suitable for players with braces.

The Aero mouthguard comes flat in the packaging. You will need to immerse it in hot water to soften. Mold it to the shape of your teeth by biting on the bite pad and shaping it through a combination of pressure from your fingers and sucking motions. Check out this video for more detailed instructions.

SISU stands by their mouthguards and offers up to USD 50,000 limited dental warranty which is applicable for one year after the date of purchase. It doesn’t come with a case so I recommend that you buy the SISU Mouthguard Storage Case.

Pros

  • Can be molded to get a close fit. Remoldable so you can reshape it if you don’t get the right fit on the first try
  • Thin and light. Comfortable to wear.
  • Comes in three size options. The medium and large can be used with braces.
  • Comes with a limited dental warranty of up to USD 50,000.
  • Available in multiple colors to match with your team colors

Cons

  • Does not come with a case

2. Venum Challenger Mouthguard

The Venum Challenger Mouthguard comes with two layers. It has an outer layer made of a high density rubber which provides the shock protection. The inner frame made of Nextfit gel which is moldable allows you to get a custom fit. Breathing channels are built into the design to allow for comfortable breathing during your basketball games.

As with any mouthguard, the fit is everything so follow instructions carefully to get the best protection and comfort. The mouthguard is fairly easy to mold.

It comes with a protective case for better hygiene and safekeeping. This is an affordable option which can work well for occasional use.

Pros

  • Can be molded to get a close fit. Remoldable so you can reshape it if you don’t get the right fit on the first try
  • Comes with a case
  • Affordable
  • Available in multiple colors to match with your team colors

Cons

  • Comes in only one size
  • Does not include dental warranty

3. OPRO Power-Fit Mouthguard

What makes the OPRO Power-Fit mouthguard different from other boil and bite mouthguards is the inclusion of a black inner tray and a white outer tray in the package. These two trays provide additional support and structure during the fitting process to ensure the closest possible fit for your mouthguard. The Power-Fit mouthguard also has fitting fins built into the mouthguard to make it easier for your teeth to grip the mouthguard during molding.

The mouthguard has two layers. An outer shell to disperse the strong force from blows and the inner Ultra-Fit gel layer which forms according to your jaw shape during the fitting process. There are two sizes available: an adult size for age eleven and above and a youth size for ten years old and below. This particular mouthguard is not suitable for those wearing braces. Check out this other OPRO mouthguard which is specifically made for athletes with braces.

Other plus points include a limited dental warranty of up to USD 20,000 valid for 18 months from the date of purchase. You do not need to purchase a case separately as it already comes with one.

OPRO is a partner and supplier of mouthguards for a number of sports including the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), England Rugby, Great Britain Taekwondo, and Great Britain Hockey.

Pros

  • Comes with an inner and outer tray to assist in the molding process. Remoldable so you can reshape it if you don’t get the right fit on the first try.
  • Comes with a case
  • Comes in two size options: adult and youth size.
  • Comes with a limited dental warranty of up to USD 20,000.
  • Available in multiple colors to match with your team colors

Cons

  • Priced higher than typical boil and bite mouthguards

4. Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard

Shock Doctor is a leading brand for mouthguards and has been making them since 1993. The Gel Max mouthguard features a triple layer design with integrated breathing channels to make breathing easy when you wear it. It has an exoskeletal shock frame for the outer layer which provides full mouth protection from shock and sudden blows. The Gel-fit liner softens in contact with boiling water and molds to your teeth and gums to ensure a close fit. The mouthguard can expand up to 20% during the molding process.

The mouthguard comes in two sizes: an adult size for age eleven and above and a youth size for ten years old and below. You get a dental warranty of up to USD 35,000 valid for one year from the date of purchase. It comes in a wide array of colors, allowing you to customize your look and match with your team uniform.

The Gel Max mouthguard does not come with a case so I recommend that you get this Shock Doctor Mouthguard case along with your purchase.

Pros

  • Can be molded to get a close fit. Remoldable so you can reshape it if you don’t get the right fit on the first try.
  • Affordable
  • Comes in two size options: adult and youth size.
  • Comes with a limited dental warranty of up to USD 35,000.
  • Available in multiple colors to match with your team colors

Cons

  • Sizing tends to run small
  • Does not come with a case

5. Impact Custom Professional Mouthguard

Unlike the previous mouthguards that I’ve presented in this review which are all from the boil and bite category, this one from Impact is a custom type. Being a custom mouthguard, this will give you the closest possible fit without actually going to a dentist and at lower cost. Impact produces guards for many dentists across the United States and going to them directly makes the entire process more affordable. Keep in mind that since this is a custom mouthguard, the term affordable is relative. It will still be more expensive than a boil and bite mouthguard.

The process starts with the Super Simple Fit Kit which you use to take an impression of your teeth. Watch this video for instructions on how you can get a precise mouthguard impression on the first try:

The materials used for Impact mouthguards are the same ones used by dental professionals and are BPA free. Your purchase already includes paid postage so you don’t have to worry about paying additional fees to send off your impression to the lab and to have the finished product shipped to you.

Pros

  • The custom nature of this product ensures you get the best possible fit out of all the other mouthguards. Sizing will never be an issue.
  • Comes with a case
  • Can be made in a wide array of colors and designs

Cons

  • Most expensive of the five options
  • It can take up to 14 business days to get the final mouthguard unless you avail of the Speedy 2-Day Lab Service at a cost of $21.
  • No dental warranty

The Awesome Choice

Keeping your teeth and gums protected from strong blows and impact is a worthwhile investment and should not be neglected. After weighing all the pros and cons, my choice for the best mouthguard for basketball is the SISU Aero Mouthguard. This mouthguard presents the best value in terms of fit, impact protection, and price. The inclusion of a dental warranty is a testimony to how the company stands by their product. As with most boil and bite mouthguards, you can only get a close fit if you follow the instructions carefully. You also have to keep in mind that the most precise fit is only possible if you go down the custom route which will cost more. If you are prepared to spend more, then the Impact Custom Professional Mouthguard is definitely worth a look and is a cost effective option for a custom mouthguard.

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