How a Mouthguard Can Change a Game

An ultra high-tech tooth protector is claiming nearly unbelievable, physical improvement in athletic performance

Changing of the Guard: PPM

From the US PopSci team

You’ve likely seen athletes chewing on them, spitting them out or sticking them in their helmet. But a high tech version of what seems part mouth fetish and part tooth protector has performance enhancing capability according to data from Pure Power Mouthguard. Research conducted at Rutgers University, USA, (funded by PPM) claims some impressive, nearly unbelievable, physical improvement from just wearing the guard. Wait till WADA gets a hold of this one.

The PPM claims that its fitting method based on neuromuscular dentistry is unlike other ‘custom fit’ mouthguards in the industry. The blind crossover study took 22 male collegiate and professional athletes and tested their vertical jump, bench press and put the athletes through the Wingate Anaerobic Test. Each athlete sat through the detailed fitting procedure for a PPM (see below). For the vertical jump (highest of three) there was a significant increase with the PPM of 67.6 vs 65.3 cm. Bench press showed no significant difference while the Wingate test showed a significant increase in peak power but no difference in average power.

So what makes this piece of plastic so special? According to PPM, as the teeth wear down due to grinding and chewing the lower jaw moves out of alignment requiring the facial muscles (maetters, temporalis) to adapt. The fitting process of the PPM finds the location of the lower jaw where those muscles are relaxed, often in the down and forward position. The optimal location for each athlete is determined by delivering a low voltage through the jaw and monitoring the muscles in the face via EMG. The bite is captured at the point of a lowest resistance and the mouthguard is built to those specifications.

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