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What Are the Pros and Cons of Mouth Guards for Snoring?

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg

Wearing mouth guards for snoring is a method that is helpful for many people, but it does have some negative aspects as well. On the pro side, the devices typically help people to stop snoring, or at least to snore much less. On the con side, they can cause some physical discomforts, including mouth or jaw pain, excessive salivation, or dry mouth. They can also be expensive if one chooses a custom-fitted mouthpiece, as is recommended by most doctors and dentists; cheaper, non-prescription devices are also available, but they may not fit or work as well.

The most important benefit of using mouth guards for snoring is that in a great number of cases, they do correct the problem. Snoring is typically caused by the soft tissues in the throat falling inward during sleep, blocking a person's airway. A mouth guard usually draws the lower jaw forward into a position to avoid this and may also keep the tongue in place so it does not fall into a position that blocks breathing during sleep, allowing the person to breathe correctly at night. This, in turn, allows users to have a more peaceful, higher-quality night's sleep, leading them to feel more rested and energetic in the morning.

An anti snoring mouthpiece looks like a sports mouth guard and pushes the lower jaw forward.
An anti snoring mouthpiece looks like a sports mouth guard and pushes the lower jaw forward.

Some people may find that wearing mouth guards for snoring can lead to unpleasant side effects, though they are usually rather mild. Excessive salivation is one common complaint from people who use them. Other people may find that wearing the device leads to dry mouth. Jaw pain is also common, as most mouth guards pull the jaws forward slightly, and wearers may also notice pain in their teeth or gums, particularly if the device is made from poor-quality materials or not fitted properly.

Mouth guards may cause dry mouth.
Mouth guards may cause dry mouth.

Another potential issue with the use of mouth guards for snoring is the cost. Most medical professionals recommend that snorers be evaluated and fitted for a custom mouth guard for snoring that is designed to address their specific needs. While this is typically the most effective option, it can also mean spending hundreds of dollars. There are less expensive, generic versions available, typically made of plastic that can be softened in hot water and then bitten to mold to a person's mouth, and if they work, they can be a viable option for some. The materials used may not be of the same quality as prescription devices, however, and without the custom fit, may tend to be less effective in stopping snoring.

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Discussion Comments


My mouthguard has been effective in eliminating snoring and improving my blood O2 levels. However, it has changed my bite, misaligning my back teeth and making it difficult to properly chew some foods. Now I am faced with the choice of sleeping properly or eating properly! Not sure if there is a solution.


I've been using a prescription one for about two months now. This was another attempt to fight my snoring, as I had previously used the air and hose device and hated it!

When given this mouthpiece, the dentist recommended I adjust it weekly, one "click" at a time, until my husband let me know I was no longer snoring. It worked from day one, even without adjustment! My insurance paid 80 percent and I and a $504 out-of-pocket expense.

I have the mild gum and teeth sensitivity mentioned in this article, but it's not bad enough not to recommend this device, and the daily effort to set my lower jaw back in place, which takes a few minutes. My dentist gave me an additional piece to use for a few minutes every morning to bring back my bite in place and it's excellent! For the first time in years, I dream every night, my husband sleeps comfortably without the noise coming from me, and I wake up rested. I recommend this device.


I've been using one for two years. I got a cheap thermoplastic one online; it seriously needs replacement now. Wife says the snoring, which was getting severe, is now much much less, although not eliminated. It's possible that a professional version would be entirely effective, but I tend to doubt it. There's a fine line between bringing the lower jaw forward enough to prevent the airway obstruction, and bringing it too far forward - which causes some issues back in the mandibular joint. I had to adjust mine over the first couple of weeks (reheat/set), with trial and error and asking my wife what the snore-level was, so I doubt a pro version could be set correctly the first time.

Cons: 1) It's a bit gross, to be honest. I store it in a cup of Scope, but it's gotten a bit discolored and is starting to harden and crack. 2)There is a real issue over time with my teeth shifting, decreasing perfection of the "bite". When the jaw relaxes at night, the guard tends to pull out on the lower teeth (incisors through the bicuspids) and pull in on the upper front teeth. That's how it works to hold the jaw out. But over time, the lower jaw teeth start to move out. Also, the molars tend to shift a bit out of alignment from side to side, so they stop meeting exactly when you bite down. It's not severe, but a bit annoying. 3) I heard a dental professor give a talk indicating that the decay-causing bacteria thrive in the low-oxygen environment of these night-time mouth guards. He stressed that it's important to trim the guard down to avoid overlapping the teeth all the way up to the gum. This allows for more constant irrigation of the teeth at the gum line during the night. Also, be religious about brushing and flossing before bedtime.


Mouth guards won't work for snoring if the snoring is coming from the nose. But if it's coming from the throat, then it works.

I used to snore because of my tongue falling back while sleeping. My significant other says that I don't snore at all when I wear the mouth guard.

The only downside is that it's not very comfortable. I need to get one specifically made for me by the dentist. I got one online and I feel like it doesn't match the design of my mouth and it's forcing a change in my jaw structure. I will probably see my doctor for a custom made one soon. I just wish they were not so expensive.


@MikeMason-- Yea they are. I have an anti-snore one and it actually made me snore more. Go figure!

I think it's because the mouth guard keeps my mouth open and hence more snoring. Plus, when I wear it everyday for a week, I develop a chronic jaw ache. So I can't wear it all the time. It's really not worth it if you ask me.


Mouth guards are used as a snoring treatment?! I thought they were only used for teeth grinding.

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    • An anti snoring mouthpiece looks like a sports mouth guard and pushes the lower jaw forward.
      By: conejota
      An anti snoring mouthpiece looks like a sports mouth guard and pushes the lower jaw forward.
    • Mouth guards may cause dry mouth.
      By: Benicce
      Mouth guards may cause dry mouth.
    • Mouth guards may help to reduce or eliminate snoring.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Mouth guards may help to reduce or eliminate snoring.