Snoring is basically as a result of narrow and/or obstructed airway which can amazingly be remedied by getting yourself an effective anti-snoring mouth guard. As such, the way to stop or minimize it is by ensuring the airway is open and unobstructed.

Today, there exists quite a number of ways and devices to stop snoring. An anti-snoring mouth guard is one of the effective devices. Anti-snoring mouth guards are also commonly referred to as “Prefabricated Oral Appliances” in the medical community.


There are two main types of mouth guards. They are basically differentiated by their working mechanism. These broad types are;

  1. Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD):

The mandible (the lower jaw) naturally slides backward because of the muscles relaxation during sleep. Consequently, the airway is blocked by the tongue, and as a result, snoring occurs as the air squeezes through.  Therefore, the MAD held in place by the teeth, works by pushing and holding the mandible forward.

This ensures the tongue doesn’t block the airway and effectively stop the snoring. Additionally, because the device is held in place by the teeth, it is also an effective way to stop bruxism/teeth grinding.

  1. Tongue Retaining Device (TRD):

This is also referred to as a Tongue stabilizing device (TSD). It basically holds the tongue in a stable position preventing it from sliding back. As a result, it ensures the airway is unobstructed.

While using either of the devices, the mouth is closed such that, breathing while sleeping is only through the nose. That is to say, they are not recommended for mouth breathers.

Two basic types of effective anti-snoring mouth guard;

Importantly, to decide on a most suited mouth piece, it’s vital to have some basics to enable you choose a good and effective mouth guard. Like any outfit or accessory, it should properly and comfortably fit to effectively serve the intended purpose.

  1. Non-custom, one-size-fit-all”.

These are also rightly referred to as anti-snoring “self-fit” or “boil and bite” mouth pieces. Are relatively low priced and are generally easily available in many drugstores.

They come in one size. As such, they thus may need boiling to soften and customize. In that soft state, it’s placed over the front teeth and bitten down for the best fit. Read on how it’s formed inIs teeth grinding affecting your sleep article.

  1. “Custom-made”.

This is specifically made by a dentist to the user’s specific requirements. A mold of one’s teeth and mouth structure is taken. However, a digital scanner can also be used to get the mouth structure. Then, a mouth piece, which is a replica of the structure, is made.

This ensures a comfortable, properly fitting and effective mouth guard fit for Bruxism, sleep apnea or even snoring problem. Due to one’s unique design specification requirements, it’s a little costlier than the non-custom mouth guards.

Differences between Custom-made and Non-custom mouth guard;

Custom-Made mouth guardNon-custom made mouth guard
Materials usedMostly latex free and medical grade resin materials are used to ease custom impression/mold making.Made of industrialized plastics and contain latex & soft copolymer materials.
CostA little costlier. Cost driven by the material used.Relatively inexpensive.
DurabilityHave a longer life span; ideally between 18-24 months.Have a shorter life span.
Designed byBy qualified dentist after a dental assessment in collaboration with a respiratory physician.Can be self-made by “boiling and biting.”

However, the most critical and significant difference between the two types of mouth guards is in their adjust-ability and customization.

Qualities of a good anti-snoring mouth guard include;

  1. Should definitely be affordable,
  2. Easy to clean and reusable,
  3. Help reduce dry mouth,
  4. Lightweight and less bulky to ensure comfort in use,
  5. Should have retentive ability. Basically a good grip to prevent falling off,
  6. Should be durable. Longevity in good shape,
  7. Should not have absorbing ability. This is to avoid microorganisms retention and/or discoloration,
  8. Shouldn’t be too tough to reduce mouth opening. However, should withstand crushing from the pressure exerted by the closing jaws,
  9. Should allow room for small adjustment while in the mouth,
  10. Generally easy to maintain. It will you save you money for replacements every so often.

How to diagnose for mouth guard recommendation;

While snoring self-tests can be accurate where normal snoring is the problem, it is however recommended that one seeks a qualified doctor’s opinion. It is highly so especially in case of Obstructive sleep apneas (OSA). This is because it poses far worse health risks if misdiagnosed and mistaken for normal snoring. In addition, it’s important to note that, a common feature in those that suffer OSA is snoring, while it’s not true that all those that snore suffers OSA.

In short, Obstructive Sleep Apnea can easily be misjudged for snoring. Therefore, only a qualified Respiratory physician can properly and accurately diagnose the condition. Where OSA is positively diagnosed, the physician will liaise with the dentist to model a mouth guard.

To clarify, a dentist is qualified enough to advise and recommend on an effective mouth guard ONLY IF snoring is the problem.

Improperly fitting mouth guards will impose stress on teeth and gums as well as jaw joints. Therefore, before a mouth guard is molded, a proper professional dental assessment should be done. A bite registration will follow to get the mouth’s impression so that a comfortable and effective piece is made.

These adjustable mouth guards have an adjustment setting tool, enabling the forward or backward movements of the mandibular part of the mouth guard. The selecting allows setting for efficacy and comfort. As a result, it’s more effective when the lower jaw has a more forward protrusion. However, that may portend less comfort.

When is anti-snoring mouth guard not recommended?  

Even after satisfactorily gathering information on qualities of a good mouth guard that you think will end your snoring nightmare, it’s however important to note that there are a few exceptions where mouth guards are not ideal solution for snoring. They include but not limited to the following;

  • Both MADs and TRDs keep the mouth closed while in use. Therefore, they’re not recommended for mouth breathers. However though, some MAD brands have perforations for air flow.
  • If one has a preexisting acute jaw ache. As stated above, mouth guards exert stress on teeth, gums and jaws. With existing ache, the mouth piece will exert more stress and pressure.
  • Small sized or severely damaged teeth are not ideal to offer good grip to a mouth piece.
  • If one has an untreated dental ailment and/or poor oral health. The mouth piece is made of unabsorbing material. It will thus hold the bacteria infested saliva close to the teeth and gum.
  • Where there are a number of fallen teeth or one is toothless.
  • If you wear dentures, MADs are not ideal. However, you can use TRDs.

Without consultation and advice from the dentist and respiratory physician, one SHOULD NOT treat sleep apnea with simple snoring mouth guard/piece/device.


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