Do Mouthguards Help With Snoring? Are They Effective? Plus 3 Alternatives

Mouthguards are commonly promoted as a remedy for snoring, promising relief by adjusting the jaw or tongue's position to improve airflow. But do they work?

While some individuals might experience improvements in snoring, their effectiveness varies and is influenced by the type of mouthguard used and the underlying causes of snoring.

We take a closer look at mouthguards for snoring, the different types, their benefits, and drawbacks, and also introduce some alternative solutions to getting a sound night’s sleep.



How Effective Are Mouthguards For Snoring?


In some cases, mouthguards can offer a solution to snoring, especially if the cause of snoring comes from the relaxation of your throat obstructing your upper airway.


Some research has reported improvements in snoring and sleep apnea symptoms when using mouthguards; however, the quality of the evidence is low due to the design of many of the available studies. (1)


Mouthguard devices work by pushing the lower jaw forward, along with the base of your tongue. This stops your tongue from relaxing back into your throat area, reducing airway resistance, which may help prevent snoring in some individuals.


The effectiveness of mouthguards for snoring varies based on each person’s specific anatomy and the root cause of their snoring, as well as whether the mouthguard is custom-made or a generic fit. 


Consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended to determine if a mouthguard is the right solution.



What Types of Mouthguards Help Prevent Snoring?


Mouthguards come in various different designs that help to manipulate the position of the jaw, tongue, or both to reduce snoring. 


Before diving into the different mouthguard designs, distinguishing between custom-fit vs. over-the-counter (OTC) mouthguards is important.


Custom-fit mouthguards are specifically designed by dental professionals to fit the unique shape of your mouth and teeth. 


A correct fit is absolutely essential to ensure not only comfort but efficacy as well. 


In contrast, over-the-counter devices might help as a quick, cheaper solution, but they are not recommended over the long-term and can even make snoring worse for some people.


With that in mind, here are the different mouthguard designs available:


  1. Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs): These are the most common types of mouthguards for snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea. They work by moving the lower jaw, also known as the mandible, slightly forward. This can help to keep the airway open to prevent snoring.

  2. Tongue-Retaining Devices (TRDs): Tongue-retaining devices focus on holding the tongue forward, preventing it from falling back into the throat and obstructing the airway.

  3. Hybrid Mouthguard Devices: These types of hybrid mouthguards combine elements of both MADs and TRDs, aiming to advance the jaw forward and also hold the tongue in place at the same time. They can be helpful for individuals who need the benefits of both device types.



Pros and Cons of Using Mouthguards to Fix Snoring?


Like any treatment, mouthguards come with their own set of advantages and drawbacks. In this section, we will explore the pros and cons of using mouthguards to reduce snoring, helping you make an informed decision.



Pros of Mouthguards


Mouthguards designed for snoring may offer several benefits:


  • Improves Sleep Quality: By keeping the airway open, mouthguards may reduce snoring and episodes of sleep apnea in some people, leading to more restful sleep.

  • Portable and Convenient: Mouthguards are small, lightweight, and easy to travel with, unlike bulkier CPAP machines used for sleep apnea.

  • Non-Invasive: Unlike surgery or CPAP machines, mouthguards are a relatively non-invasive oral appliance, making them an easier first step before trying other, more invasive solutions.

  • Custom-Made Fit: Many mouthguards can be custom-fitted to the individual's mouth (this is highly recommended to ensure they’re effective and more comfortable).

  • Reduces Certain Health Risks: By improving breathing during sleep, they can help reduce the health risks associated with sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Using a mouth guard can also reduce teeth grinding.

  • Easy to Use: Mouthguards are pretty straightforward to use, making them an accessible option for many people.



Cons of Mouthguards


While mouthguards may offer some benefits for snoring, they also have some drawbacks, such as:


  • Difficult Adjustment Period: It can be quite a challenge to get used to sleeping with a foreign device in your mouth, which means there might be an uncomfortable adjustment period for some when starting to use a mouthguard for snoring.

  • Discomfort or Jaw Pain: Some users may experience discomfort, jaw pain, or soreness, especially if the mouthguard is not specifically fitted to the mouth.

  • Potential Dental Issues: Long-term use without supervision or with a generic over-the-counter mouthguard could potentially lead to dental issues, like tooth movement and changes in bite or even painful TMJ disorders.

  • Not Suitable for Severe Cases: If snoring results from severe sleep apnea, mouthguards may not be effective, where more advanced treatments like CPAP machines might be needed.

  • Hygiene Issues: Regular cleaning of your mouthguard is essential to prevent issues like bad breath or oral infections. Mouthguards can also increase the growth of bacteria and plaque buildup, resulting in a higher risk of cavities.

  • Need Replacing: Mouthguards, especially over-the-counter models, may wear out or lose effectiveness over time, requiring frequent replacements.

  • Not a Solution for Everyone: Mouthguards may not work as an anti-snoring device for everyone, particularly if the cause isn’t linked to the positioning of the jaw or tongue.



Alternative Solutions to Mouthguards that Help Fix Snoring 


  • Mouth Taping


Clinical research shows that mouth taping reduces snoring measurements by a whopping 47%. (2)


Since mouth breathing is one of the most common causes of snoring, using mouth tape while sleeping is considered a highly effective solution since it gets to the root cause by stopping mouth breathing in its tracks. 


Using mouth tape is also a much more comfortable and less invasive method to encourage healthy nasal breathing.


Also, unlike a mouthguard, mouth tape actually supports better oral health without any risk of dental issues and doesn’t need to be fitted by a professional. (3)


Dream Recovery Mouth Tape is made from organic bamboo silk and has a sturdy but gentle hypoallergenic adhesive, offering the most luxuriously soft mouth taping experience on the market, which stays on all night while being suitable for even the most sensitive skin. 


Transform your sleep today with Dream Recovery Mouth Tape



  • Anti-Snoring Pillows


Anti-snoring pillows help to encourage a better sleeping position to keep your airways open and reduce snoring.


They are usually designed to elevate your head and neck to prevent the tongue and soft tissues in the throat from collapsing into the airways, which is a common cause of snoring. (4)


Anti-snoring pillows offer a non-invasive, comfortable solution without the need for wearing anything during sleep, making them a practical choice for people looking for simple ways to address snoring related to poor sleep posture.



  • Nasal Dilators or Nose Strips


Using nasal dilators or nasal strips to reduce snoring is a great alternative to mouthguards if your snoring comes from congestion or nasal obstructions.


While nasal dilators focus on widening the nostrils from within to improve airflow, nasal strips externally open up the nasal passages with a spring-like strip across the bridge of the nose. 


Both nasal dilators and nasal strips work by expanding the nostrils and improving nasal airflow, which minimizes the air resistance that can cause soft tissues in the throat to vibrate (which may also be one of the reasons your throat hurts when you wake up).


This can lead to reduced snoring and improved sleep quality for some individuals; however, the results from studies are mixed. (5) (6)


For snoring caused by other factors, such as chronic mouth breathing, nasal dilators or strips may offer limited benefits, and mouth taping may be more effective.






What is the difference between a night guard and a snore guard?


The main difference between a night guard and a snore guard is that night guards are designed to protect teeth from grinding, while snore guards keep the throat's airway open, reducing snoring. 



What are the side effects of snore guards?


The side effects of snore guards include discomfort, jaw soreness, and saliva buildup.


Long-term use without proper dental supervision might lead to dental misalignment or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues.



Does anything really work to stop snoring?


Yes, many things work to stop snoring, but the right solution will depend on the cause.


For example, mouth tape can prevent snoring in chronic mouth breathers, while nasal dilators might offer relief for those with nasal obstructions. Mouthguards may also alleviate snoring in some individuals. 



How do I get a custom-made mouth guard fitted?


To get a mouth guard fitted, schedule an appointment to see a dentist or orthodontist, who will take impressions of your teeth and mouth to create a custom-fitted device.


This approach ensures your mouth guard is more effective and comfortable for your specific dental structure.



Final Thoughts

While mouthguards present a viable solution for some snorers by adjusting the jaw and tongue to enhance airflow, they are definitely not a one-size-fits-all remedy and can even cause harm if used long-term and not properly fitted to your mouth.

Alternatives like mouth taping, anti-snoring pillows, and nasal dilators or strips are available as additional options to reduce snoring and cater to different needs and preferences.




Experience the science-backed benefits of mouth taping today with Dream Recovery Mouth Tape, specifically designed to reduce snoring, improve nasal breathing, and deepen sleep.





  1. Lindman, R., & Bondemark, L. (2001). A review of oral devices in the treatment of habitual snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. Swedish dental journal, 25(1), 39–51.

  2. Lee, Y. C., Lu, C. T., Cheng, W. N., & Li, H. Y. (2022). The Impact of Mouth-Taping in Mouth-Breathers with Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Preliminary Study. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 10(9), 1755.

  3. Choi, J. E., Waddell, J. N., Lyons, K. M., & Kieser, J. A. (2016). Intraoral pH and temperature during sleep with and without mouth breathing. Journal of oral rehabilitation, 43(5), 356–363.

  4. Cazan, D., Mehrmann, U., Wenzel, A., & Maurer, J. T. (2017). The effect on snoring of using a pillow to change the head position. Sleep & breathing = Schlaf & Atmung, 21(3), 615–621.

  5. Noss, M. J., Ciesla, R., & Shanga, G. (2019). Sleep Quality and Congestion with Breathe Right Nasal Strips: Two Randomized Controlled Trials. Advances in therapy, 36(8), 1975–1985.

  6. Gosepath, J., Mann, W. J., & Amedee, R. G. (1997). Effects of the Breathe Right nasal strips on nasal ventilation. American journal of rhinology, 11(5), 399–402.

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