Better materials: What are mouthguards made from?
Over the years, many studies and tests have analyzed and diagnosed the various types of mouth guards and the materials they are made of. However, because these tests have never exactly revealed the ideal properties of the perfect mouth guard material, we took things into our own hands.
To study the mechanical and physical properties of our mouthguards, we recreated common impacts to the mouth area using pendulum ram. The data from these impacts was recorded, studied and applied in the designs of every Nxtrnd mouthguard model.
Through our tests, we were able to determine that the cushioning effects of our mouthguards are directly correlated to their material thickness and that their material rigidity (hardness) regulates the force distribution throughout the mouth guard.
In fact, using our dual layer guard as a sample guard and a drop weight impact tester, we recreated impacts similar to those generated by an ice hockey puck and we were able to precisely determine what layer must be the thickest.
After examination, we were able to determine that the layer closest to teeth is the layer that necessitates the thickest amount of material.
How we structure our mouthguard materials
Because multi-layered structures have been shown to reduce the stress distribution within materials, all our mouthguards are designed using a laminated process consisting of a hard exterior material and a soft interior material. By incorporating this layering technique, we are able to significantly dissipate the energy transmission from a blow between the teeth and jaw.
How we structure our slim fit guard materials
Since our test have shown that the force transmitted through our mouthguards material is inversely related to its thickness, meaning a thick mouthguard dissipated more energy than a thin mouthguard. In order to increase energy absorption in our thin guards, we have reengineered our material by adding small air pockets in the material.
In fact, the inclusion of air cells within a thin EVA mouthguard material further reduces the transmitted forces when impact was made by increasing the surface area capable of absorbing the impact energy.
Benefits of a multi-layered mouthguards
It is important to note that high energy absorption levels do not necessarily mean high protection. When a mouthguard features a more rigid outer layer, some of the absorbed energy may be transmitted to the underlying tooth structure through what is known as rebound energy.
To reduce rebound energy and reduced the impact force transmitted to the teeth, at Nxtrnd, all our mouthguards feature a combination of compliant and rigid materials built into a multi-layered frame. The combination of hard and soft materials strategically places throughout the guard can be noticed by the varying materiel and layer thicknesses in different areas of the guard.
The final product is a multi-layer guard containing multiple air cells and made of a material composed of a polyvinyl acetate-polyethylene mixture in the range of 18–24% polyvinyl acetate. Mouth guards made of materials in this range have shown dynamic energy absorptions 35% higher than average OTC mouth guards.
How to choose a mouthguard
At Nxtrnd, we understand that in order to make an informed choice and opt for the best mouth guard available, an athlete must first be thoroughly aware and educated on the efficacy of the different guards available.
Because every mouthguard differs between manufacturers, we put together an easy to follow guide to help you understand the various protective capabilities of each of our models.
In fact, before making our guards publicly available, we put them through multiple tests to ensure they are comfortable, easy to wear and highly protective. Our design criteria is unseen in the mouth guard industry and can only be achieved if the guidelines for material compositions, thickness and mouth guard shape are respected.
To learn more and to find the mouthguard specifically designed for your sporting needs, please click here.