Can a Mouthpiece Improve Performance?

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Mouthpieces have two primary purposes—to protect your teeth and prevent concussions. That's why virtually every contact sport program has a mandatory mouthpiece policy. In addition to these two critical benefits, mouthpiece technology may deliver one more advantage. Would you believe a mouthpiece can actually improve performance?

Under Armour teamed up with Bite Tech to develop the world's first line of performance mouthpieces—Under Armour Performance Mouthwear with ArmourBite technology. The idea was conceived after a look back in time. "Hundreds of years ago, the concept of strategic jaw placement was being used by athletes and warriors who would bite on a leather strap or a bullet to enable their bodies to push through a strenuous event or activity," says Edward Giard, UA's vice president of licensing and accessories. "Under Armour and Bite Tech have evolved that concept to bring athletes an innovation that allows them to perform to their full potential."

UA found that a custom-fitted and specially-designed mouthpiece, one that pushes the jaw forward and prevents teeth from clenching together, relieves pressure on the TM joint (where the jaw attaches to the skull), thereby reducing excess cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol impairs performance by heightening stress, increasing fatigue and breaking down muscle. Further studies have shown that wearing an Under Armour mouthpiece increases strength (up to 20 percent), endurance and reaction time, while also reducing stress and impact.

Under Armour offers two Performance Mouthwear models—the Performance Mouthpiece and Mouthguard. Both require a visit to the dentist for a mold of your mouth, which is sent to Under Armour to manufacture your custom piece. To reap all of its benefits and maximize your potential, Under Armour recommends wearing the piece even during non-contact sports and training sessions—and of course during contact sports.

Athletes such as Vernon Davis, Rey Maualuga, Brandon Jennings, Monica Hargrove and the University of South Carolina baseball team already wear Under Armour's latest creation. The result? Several impressive performances and a College World Series championship.

Check back for a future report and to get STACK's take on how the Under Armour Performance Mouthpiece affects performance.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock