Bite Guard by Bite Tech is a customized mouth piece that its proponents says improves athletic performance and its detractors says is just another high priced way for your dentist to make more money off of their fitness junky patients always looking to improve their competitive edge.
Here’s my story.
I’m sitting in the dentist chair getting my teeth cleaned. I’m an odd guy because I actually enjoy getting my teeth cleaned. That might say more about my dental hygienist and my dentist in general then it does about me. Then again, I am a guy who likes breaking my body in the gym everyday too so there may actually be something sick about me.
Anyway, my hygienist asks me while she’s cleaning my teeth the same thing that other hygienists have asked me before, “You’ve got some wearing away of your enamel. Do you grind your teeth at night?”
“If I do, I’m grinding against my retainer.”
“How about when you workout?”
“Oh, so you think I look like I workout? Do you like guys who look like they workout?” As you can see, I’m very smooth with the ladies. . . OK I didn’t really say that since I’m pretty much socially inept. What I really said was:
“You know I don’t really pay attention because I am pretty much in another world when I workout.”
“Well, unless you’re walking around with your teeth clenched I’ll bet you are.”
“I really like my teeth so what should I do?”
They didn’t make a big sales push. They were upfront that Bite Tech sells it as a performance enhancer but they would recommend it for me to prevent further enamel erosion.
There’s a pricey model for about $200. They take an impression of your teeth and have it custom made. Then there’s the $60 “boil and bite” version. My dentist himself is a fitness enthusiast and he uses the boil and bite and said that would be fine for me.
My concern was that I didn’t want to be working out with a big awkward piece of plastic in my mouth distracting me. Yet, we all know that we only get one set of adult teeth and we have to take care of them. If it was going to help my performance that would be great, but I decided to get the boil and bite version to preserve the one and only chompers I’ve got. My dentist even did the boiling and I did the biting right there in the office. It’s not necessary for your dentist to do the boiling and fitting since it’s easy enough to do at home. He just did it for me as a courtesy.
So here’s what happened in the gym. I put my Bite Guard with it’s cool Under Armour logo in my mouth and went about my workout as usual. At least that’s what I thought was going to happen. As I was working out I found that I was distracted by the fact that there was a piece of plastic in my mouth. Then I’d remember, “Oh ya, I’m supposed to bite down on this thing.” I’d bite into it and pretty much forget it was there.
So did it add 50 pounds to my bench and take a minute off of my mile? Nope, but what it did do I didn’t noticed until after my workout was through. When I took it out I was very aware that my jaw felt relaxed and I didn’t have any tension on my teeth. I realized AFTER TAKING IT OUT AT THE END OF THE WORKOUT that I, pre-Bite Guard, had been inadvertently grinding my teeth when I worked out.
1. There were definitely moments that it distracted me, reminded me to bite down, and consequently broke the overall concentration of my set.
2. Talking and drinking was a bit clumsy at first. Unless you’re an experienced tobacco chewer you may find the presence of something wedged onto your lower molars awkward.
1. It causes no annoyance in your mouth once you get used to it. If anything, it provides a sense of comfort that you’re protecting your teeth.
2. This is purely anecdotal, but I feel like I can concentrate better during my sets. The Bite Guard sets my jaw in place when I’m clamping down and somehow it feels like my jaw is in a more natural/neutral position (I have a slight overbite).
3. There is definitely less stress in my jaw when I work out. That includes my cardio bouts of 2-3 miles of pavement runs. Remember, I had NO IDEA that I was clenching my teeth so much when I worked out UNTIL the Bite Guard gave me the EXPERIENCE OF NOT CLENCHING MY TEETH when I worked out.
4. The drinking talking clumsiness went away pretty quickly. In fact, I’ll find myself saying something to someone in the gym and they ask me, “What’s that you’ve got in your mouth?” and I’d pretty much forgotten it was in there.
As to whether or not this thing improves performance I couldn’t tell you because I’m just not the kind of guy to throw down an empirical base line to find these things out. I primarily got it to save my molars. So if you think your clenching, grinding, or otherwise destroying your teeth during your workout then drop the $60 bucks, get the boil and bite version and take care of your teeth.
Now that’s something to chew on. .. . Sorry, I couldn’t resist. If you don’t like my humor you can bite it. . . . OK I’ll stop.
Have you had any experience with the Bite Guard? Feel free to comment below.