As grapplers, we use little protective equipment. There's no need for boxing gloves, shin guards, headgear, and such, just a gi and a rash guard, and we are ready to go.
But there is a single piece of protective gear every jiu-jitsu practitioner needs: the mouth guard. The mouth guard is a godsend for athletes of all disciplines because a simple, cheap piece of gum is enough to prevent thousands of dollars of dental interventions.
There are many options on the mouthguard market, and I will take you through some of the best choices depending on what you are looking for, in addition to helping you decide what BJJ mouthguard you need in the first place.
Best BJJ Mouth Guard
Best Custom BJJ Mouth Guard
Best Thin BJJ Mouth Guard
Boil & Bite
Boil & Bite
Boil & Bite
- Best BJJ Mouth Guard - Venum Challenger Mouth Guard
- Best Custom BJJ Mouth Guard - Impact Custom Mouth Guard
- Best Thin BJJ Mouth Guard - Sisu Aero Medium Mouth Guard
- Best Runner-Up BJJ Mouth Guard - Shock Doctor Gel Max
- Best BJJ Mouth Guard For Braces - Under Armour Mouth Guard for Braces
- BJJ Mouth Guard With The Coolest Design - Safejawz Mouth Guard
Best Boil And Bite Mouthguard
Venum Challenger Mouthguard
The Venum challenger is latex-free and comes with a protective case. There are also many color options, so everyone can find something they like.
I have used a Venum Challenger mouthguard for years and was very happy with it. It's the perfect middle ground, thick and protective enough for striking while not being bulky and restrictive.
I've tried the more expensive Predator model but found it too big and bulky and returned to the Challenger. This model offers all you need for a grappler at a reasonable price.
Best Custom BJJ Mouth Guard
Impact Custom Mouthguard
By going this route, you will receive the best mouthguard except one made by a dentist who took the mold in person, but the price for the service is even higher. Impact also offers a lot of exciting designs as well as the option to make your own.
The downside of all of this is the waiting time and the price. While for MMA fighters, they may be worth it, for BJJ practitioners, getting a custom 7 mm mouthguard may be overkill. But if you want the best protection, the Impact custom or going to a dentist is the best solution.
Best Thin BJJ Mouth Guard
Sisu Aero Medium Mouthguard
With them, breathing, speaking, and drinking is effortless. Despite the less material, Sisu mouthguards offer good protection thanks to the high-tech thermoplastic material. The custom fit and comfort are also outstanding, making Sisu unmatched in functionality.
If you can't stand the feel of protective gum in your mouth, the Sisu Aero medium will be the perfect choice and infinitely better rolling without a mouth guard.
Best Runner-Up BJJ Mouth Guard
Shock Doctor Gel Max
The Shock Doctor Gel Max is another hugely popular mouthguard that is well-reviewed and tested. Like the Venum Challenger, it's made in two layers, with the outer one ensuring protection and the inner comfort and tight fit.
The Shock Doctor gum has integrated breathing channels, which is a nice touch. There are many color options, and you can even get a flavored gum guard, which kids appreciate. You also get a detachable helmet strap, but this is not a feature BJJ practitioners have use for.
Shock Doctor are well proven on the market, and you will not go wrong buying any of their mouthguards.
Best BJJ Mouth Guard For Braces
Under Armour Mouth Guard for Braces
But Under Armour also has an option ready to use with braces and does not require molding.
Naturally, this won’t fit as well as molded gum, but it’s a reasonable and cheap solution for brace wearers. The mouth guard is made from high-quality medical-grade silicone with no rough edges to irritate the gums.
Cool Design BJJ Mouth Guard
I haven't noticed a diminished protection due to the slim design, and the comfort and fit of this model are excellent. I bought one because of the cool designs but stuck with it thanks to the comfortable fit.
This model is at the same level and price as Venum and Shock Doctor, and if you want a mouthguard with a different look, Safejawz is a solid pick.
How To Pick A BJJ Mouth Guard
Boil and Bite vs Custom Mouth Guards
There are three general options when choosing a mouth guard, but the first one, a pre-made guard, is not worth exploring.
These are pre-molded gum guards, which means they will not fit your teeth properly and are generally good only for people who grind their teeth while sleeping.
The two options we can use for BJJ are boil and bite models and custom mouthguards. The boil and bite are the more popular option on the market.
You can find them in every reputable sports store as well as online. The molding method of all of them is the same, regardless of price, material quality, or thickness.
You first put the mouth guard in hot water, which softens it, then mold it in your mouth. Once the gum is cool, you can take it out, and it should be ready for use.
This process can be repeated multiple times if you are not happy with the result. Boil and bite mouthguards offer more than adequate protection for most needs.
Naturally, custom-made mouthguards are better than boil-and-bite ones. A custom mouth guard is made specifically for your mouth by a dentist or a dental specialist.
The custom fit offers superior protection and better comfort, and once you try it, it's unlikely to revert to more basic mouthguards.
The downside to them is the price and time required to make them. Often, a custom mouth guard is a few times more expensive, and you either have to go to a dentist or order an impression kit online, which you then return to the manufacturer and wait for the mouth guard.
For BJJ, this level of protection is usually not necessary, and few people go for custom mouthguards, but the quality and comfort are unparalleled.
For people with braces, a custom mouth guard is usually the better option since the braces are both sensitive and expensive and must be taken care of.
Single vs Double Mouth Guards
The vast majority of jiu-jitsu practitioners and martial artists use the single mouth guard. The protection of the top teeth is usually enough to prevent injuries to all teeth and the soft tissues in the mouth. Single mouth guards do not obstruct breathing once you get used to the feeling.
Double mouth guards offer complete protection but will make you feel as if you are breathing through a straw, and the feeling is awful when you are exhausted.
This level of protection is required for some sports, but all combat sports athletes, even MMA fighters, wear single mouthguards.
Mouth guards can range in thickness from 1.6 mm. up to 8 mm. The thicker the mouth guard is, the better protection it has and the less comfortable it is, at least in general.
Since jiu-jitsu strikes are not allowed, the teeth and mouth are in danger only to accidental blows, which luckily are not too frequent.
This means a mouth guard for Muay Thai, where elbows and knees are allowed, should be thicker than a gum guard for BJJ.
For most grapplers, mouthguards between 3 and 6 mm. are optimal, and this is the thickness range of the most popular models included on the list.
But for the demands of BJJ, the thinner 1.6 and 2.4 Sisu mouthguards are also more than enough for most people.
Frequently Asked BJJ Mouthguard Questions
Why Do You Need A Mouth Guard In BJJ
Although there are no strikes in BJJ, it is a sport where we are in constant contact, and accidental knocks with elbows, knees, and shoulders are commonplace.
A mouth guard will protect you against these blows and from chipped and dislodged teeth. But a mouthguard does more than this and also prevents soft tissue damage.
The lips, tongue, and cheeks are also in constant danger during rolling, and soft tissue injuries are not uncommon for people who prefer to spar without mouthguards. The gum also helps diminish concussions by cushioning contact between the upper and bottom jaw.
Most people prefer to train and drill without a mouthguard and use them only when rolling. Others refuse to put one even for sparring, and it's ultimately your choice, but I personally use a mouthpiece most of the time, and when you are used to it, it's barely noticeable.
Can You Wear A Mouth Guard in BJJ Competition
You can and should always wear a mouthguard when competing. You know how expensive dental services are, and a simple $15 gum piece will almost always completely protect and save you.
Mouthguards are not mandatory in competition, so you can go on the mats without one, but it's hard to find good reasons for doing so.
Can I Wear a Mouthguard With Braces?
Mouth guards can be worn with braces, and it's recommended to protect both teeth and braces. But remember that most mouthguards are not big enough for braces, and you should either buy a custom mouthguard or one designed for braces like the Under Armour model included in this list.
How Thick A BJJ Mouthguard Should Be?
Most boil and bite mouth guards are in the 3-4 mm. range and offer enough protection even for striking sports like boxing and Muay Thai. For BJJ, even thinner mouthguards like Sisu are enough for most people. But the final choice is down to personal preferences and needs.
Mouth guards are cheap and are super effective in protecting the teeth and soft tissues in the mouth. While BJJ presents less risk than striking sports, accidental blows are not uncommon, and wearing a gum guard is highly recommended, at least in sparring.
The Venum Challenger is a solid mouthguard offering great protection with excellent comfort. On the other hand, the Sisu medium mouthguard is the perfect choice for those who want the most minimal feel and least obstruction possible. And for the most demanding of you, custom mouthguards made by a dentist are always an option.