You’ve decided to take the step into getting your hands on a custom mouthguard and you’re not sure which is the better purchase. If you’ve narrowed it down to the Impact mouthguard vs Gladiator Guards then this article is for you.
Both of these custom mouth guards are used widely and popular within many kinds of combat or high contact sports and of course within mixed martial arts.
We reviewed Impact Mouthguards independently, but it could be difficult to pick one of these out.
So let’s break it down, in this article I’m going to tell you about the 4 key differences to know before you buy, along with a recommendation in each:
- Comfort level
- Protection level
- Multi-use guard
- Martial art specialty guard
If you’re thinking: just tell me, who is the winner of Impact Mouthguards vs Gladiator Guards?
The best custom mouth guard for MMA needs to have high protection covering the gums and a snug fit. The Impact Mouthguard is a great choice because it can be custom-made specifically for MMA and offers high gum protection and comfort.
Overall Winner: Impact Custom Mouthguard
The Impact Mouthguards came out on top of our review., mainly due to their versatility and comfort for different kinds of martial arts.
But keep on reading if you want to find out more, such as:
- Will using a custom mouth guard hurt my teeth?
- Winner for best for Multi-use guard
- The Final Verdict and star ratings
Are custom mouth guards worth it?
You can grab yourself a common boil and bite mouthguard cheaply and easily from most sports stores, dentists, and more. But a custom mouthguard offers a much greater level of protection, comfort, and versatility that makes them worthwhile.
Let’s go through a few of the common questions about custom mouthguards, particularly for combat sports:
Which type of sports mouth guard is most effective?
A custom-molded mouth guard is the most effective option for combat sports. Having a mold specifically designed for your set of teeth can prevent concussions and brain trauma by as much as 52% than a traditional boil and bite mouthguard.
How long do custom mouth guards last?
Custom mouthguards can last longer than boil and bites due to high-quality materials, even up to many years as long as you take good care of them It’s important to cold rinse your mouthguard after every use and you may wish to replace it annually to prevent bacteria.
Can custom mouth guards damage your teeth?
Custom mouthguards are specially designed around your teeth to protect them, not cause any damage. As long as you use your mouthguard for its intended purpose, like when doing sports, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
Will using a custom mouth guard hurt my teeth?
Some people experience discomfort using a custom mouth guard for the first week of use. But if you usually grind your teeth during contact sports, like clenching your jaw, wearing a custom mouth guard will almost certainly prevent you from damaging your teeth further.
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Can I use my custom mouth guard at night to sleep with?
A custom-fit combat sports mouth guard is only intended to be used whilst doing the activity. They aren’t suitable to be used as a nightguard to stop things like snoring or teeth grinding. Instead, you should pick out a specialty night mouthguard.
Now when you’re sparring or rolling with your opponent, the last thing you want to be thinking about is some kind of irritation in your teeth or gums.
It’s going to throw you off your game and end up with you being punched in the mouth.
That kind of defeats the purpose of a mouth guard now, doesn’t it?
So making sure you get a custom mouth guard that has a very comfortable fit for your particular set of teeth is important.
The protection level of any mouthguard, especially custom, is going to take you 70-80% of the way. But if things are moving around too much and it’s not snug, it’s going to be frustrating.
Comfort level: Impact Mouth Guard vs Gladiator Guards
The impact custom mouthguard has a much thicker material that allows for a very snug fit over your entire set of teeth. Gladiator guards on the other hand don’t typically have the same level of material which for some people can be more typical, and so, more comfortable.
The comfort level can come down to whether you are used to wearing a custom mouthguard or not. The difference is that the extra material can be a bit unsettling at first and take some time to get used to.
But with mixed martial arts, you need to make sure that you are getting adequate protection for your jaw.
As such, the impact mouthguard has a specialized design that includes the extra material. Because of this, it can fit higher up your gums than you might be used to. Gladiator guards resemble typical sports boil and bite guards but with the benefit of a customized fit.
Many have described the Impact Custom Mouthguards to be very comfortable and provide a good sense of security whilst sparring that it gives you the confidence to go for the perfect strike.
It might sound at this point that the impact mouthguard has a hard rigid material inside of your mouth but this isn’t the case. In fact, the material is soft, pliable, and resembles the dummy you had when you were a toddler. It’s chewy!
This is great for anyone who has the tendency to chew nervously on the mouthguard in between rounds of sparring and learning whilst on the mat.
The level of material and a gladiator guard is designed to be thin, repeatedly usable, and for a variety of cases.
As the gladiator guard represents something more common with sports mouthguards it could be much cozier for many people but it does beg the question of whether it is responsive enough to the heavy striking of spiring in combat sports like boxing, Muay Thai, etc.
Their Elite guard is designed for this with appropriate material changes, but the general style of the guard does not change too much.
Winner for best Comfort level
As the Impact custom mouth guards are specifically tailored towards heavy combat sports they have perfected the construction of a mouth guard that is both highly protective of both teeth and gums but also extremely pliable and can be used across a variety of combat sports. If you care most about Comfort, go for Impact.
It goes without saying. Your mouthguard must have a high level of protection and be thoroughly tested.
And I don’t just mean tested in the factory or on some dummy. I mean tested by real people and real fighters who are constantly taking fists, elbows, knees, and feet to the face on a regular basis.
Fighters can only know best whether their guard is standing the test of their sparring. So which stands up with the highest and most tested level of protection?
Protection level: Impact Mouth Guard vs Gladiator Guards
Impact Custom Mouth Guards are all in one same style and structure, but when you need the added layers of protection for heavy striking you can upgrade your guard by picking your usual activity.
So let’s say you’re a Kickboxer, you can pick that during customization. The guard will be designed for you in this sport.
There are not really any noticeable differences between picking Kickboxing vs Boxing, for example. The difference is just that they know your target use and the guard’s protection level is increased with added material for your gums.
It costs a little extra, but it’s well worth it if you’re considering doing full contact sparring.
On the Gladiator Guards side, their most protective guard is their Elite model:
The Elite is our thickest style offering the most protection. Due to its thickness, the Elite is perfected for combat sports, built to withstand constant and deliberate blows to the mouth and face.GladiatorGuards.com
Whilst they do have other options like the Pro model, when it comes to protecting your jaw from heavy strikes, you should go for the best protection available.
Winner for best Protection level
The Impact Custom Mouth Guards win this one because their mouthguard can be tailored for MMA and striking training, giving much-needed added protection over the gums.
It feels good to be delivered a piece of custom work like this to your home, ready to fit into your teeth and get busy on the mats or in the ring.
Common mouth guards are usually suitable for full contact (or combat) sports in general. The aim is the same, to protect the teeth, jaw, and skull from sudden impacts.
But not all mouthguards are the same.
Custom guards offer you greater fit, comfort, and protection. But you might be looking for a guard that you can use for multiple uses.
Maybe you play multiple sports and want to mix in your martial arts training with football, hockey or something else.
There can be differences in the guards for the particular sport. And you should consider how each sport you partake in is different in terms of types of impact and the style of the sport.
For example, rolling in BJJ is quite different from striking. Wearing a mouthguard in both these martial arts is a good idea, but many people claim different requirements for their guards between the two.
Think about the consistent needs of the practice. In BJJ, you’re typically trying to beat your opponent in longer sustained periods of strength and technical movement. Whilst getting a rare elbow to the face is likely, a lot of the intensity on the guard will be from squeezing your teeth together to sustain strength in defensive positions.
On a striking level, like Muay Thai or Boxing, you are being punched in the face persistently. And biting down on your guard will happen in burst movements like making a strike.
Because of these slight differences in training, a lot of guards that are good at protecting your teeth from grinding are good for BJJ – but they still should be high grade.
With striking, you will usually need a more significant gum shield and guard that is thicker and more material because harsh blows to the head are more frequent and dangerous.
So which of the guards are better for multiple uses?
Multi-use: Impact Mouth Guard vs Gladiator Guards
Impact guards are thick and cover a large part of the gums. During customization, you can select your sport.
Most sports are included in the price for an Impact custom guard, but when you choose something more tailored for being struck in the face often than the price rises.
This happens because extra material is used to create the guard, covering more teeth and gum areas for maximum level protection.
As a mixed martial artist, you absolutely need to make sure you are going for the appropriate version. It will give you the best fit for what you do.
This does have an effect on the Impact guard being multi-use. The thicker and more material with an MMA variant could result, for some, being not so comfortable for use in other sports. You’ll get extra protection, but you might not need it.
Think about how long you would wear a guard for in a striking art, like boxing or Muay Thai, you’ll usually only be wearing it for actual sparring rounds. Rounds can last just a few minutes. And the purpose of the guard in sparring is to protect your jaw and skull from sudden strikes. It’s a burst contact sport.
When it comes to a sport that has less likelihood of sudden strikes to the jaw, then the protection level around the gums might not be as necessary. You might spend more time grinding and biting down with your teeth and that would be the majority of your needs for the guard.
So as you’re developing your skills, you’ll likely be exploring different martial arts at the same time. So having a guard that can adapt with you in this is pretty important for you.
Even in a martial art like BJJ or Wrestling, you aren’t as likely to be struck in the face – though it does happen. The guard is protecting from long-term grinding more than from specific strikes.
With that in mind, by default, the Impact custom mouth guard might not be the best multi-use guard for a martial artist who practices both striking and ground fighting styles.
Winner for best for Multi-use guard
The Gladiator Guards, particularly the Elite model, are designed to be adaptive for a variety of contact sports. There may be some slightly lower protection levels with this mouthguard as they don’t add extra material specifically for combat sports like MMA. But they do claim that this Elite model was designed for constant and deliberate blows to the face.
Martial art specialty guard
The range of mouthguards available out there is pretty overwhelming.
When it comes to custom mouth guards, the options reduce a bit further because of the premium level of product you’re going for.
But having a mouth guard that is specific for your intended purpose is something you should be thinking about. There’s a difference between playing field hockey and fighting, for example.
Both examples could equal a lot of heavy contact to the face. But there’s nothing quite like the fight game where your opponent is fully intending to hit you where it hurts – repeatedly.
Your mouth guard needs to be able to protect your jaw as much as it can and for A LOT of repetitions. With the right protection in your jaw, it can have a huge impact on protection for the rest of your face, skull, and even brain.
Despite wearing a full head guard for full intensity sparring, the mouth guard is your last line of defense. So, better get it right.
Martial-art specialty: Impact Mouth Guard vs Gladiator Guards
Like has been previously mentioned the impact custom mouthguard has two primary options when customizing your new guard.
The key difference to know is that when picking a combat sport like Boxing, Muay Thai, or kickboxing, the customizer adds an extra cost. This cost provides you with the added material needed for maximum gum and jaw protection.
Because of this, you can feel secure in the knowledge that you are getting the right mouthguard for your needs.
With gladiator guards, the options come in different models such as the Elite model which is specialized for heavy combat sports.
Gladiator also has a Pro model which is typically designed for less striking heavy sports.
The impact custom mouthguard has been a popular choice for martial artists who specialize in striking but also Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The reason many BJJ practitioners go for the impact custom seems to be because of its pliable material as well as the ease of speaking whilst practicing.
Many rollers are able to practice, ask questions, and progress by retaining their ability to communicate with their spare rolling partner or the teacher.
The gladiator guards Elite model is designed for striking and so would be a good option for those mainly involved in boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, etc. They also have the Pro model which is designed for full contact sports and may be a good option for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Wrestlers.
The majority of ground game fighters’ needs for the mouthguard is to withstand the test of time with grinding of teeth more than for taking strikes to the face.
Winner for best martial-art specialty guard
It’s a DRAW! Both these custom mouth guards offer great options for specialty martial arts. If you need more protection against heavy striking, you can get it. And so too, if you don’t, you can get guards at a more budget price for rolling.
The Final Verdict
For me, the Impact Custom Mouth Guard offers the greatest combination for mixed martial artists.
It has extra layered protection for the gums and against heavy striking that is needed for the full contact sparring.
And it also has pliable comforts that make it suitable for long-term use in ground game fighting like BJJ or Wrestling.
Something else we didn’t cover in this article, but the wide range of designs available and extra customizability of your guard makes it a really personable product to purchase.
It feels good to have a guard that is completely designed for you and delivered to your home. Fitted to your jaw, teeth, and to your preferences of colors and style. If you want to have a joke a smile staring back at your sparring partner you can have it, or even showing your colors with your country flag, or how about some chrome fangs.
There’s plenty to choose from – check out the whole collection here and use coupon code mmahive to get 10% off your order.
Joe Bloom is the lead author and editor of MMA Hive. Joe has been a passionate mixed martial artist in training since 2019, having studied Boxing and Muay Thai at BaliMMA and Soma Fight Club, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with RitualsJJ.