Sleep apnea affects an estimated 22 million people in America, and 80% of those cases are moderate to severe, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.
Positive airway pressure (PAP) machines are the most common treatment option for moderate to severe sleep apnea. But what about people who have mild cases or just want an alternative to these bulky machines?
For those looking for a simple solution to their chronic snoring, a sleep apnea mouthpiece may be a quick and inexpensive solution.
Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard
What is a Sleep Apnea Mouthpiece?
A mouthpiece for sleep apnea is a device that helps keep your airways open at night. These easy-to-wear mouth guards help stop snoring – the most common symptom of sleep apnea.
Classified as oral appliances, these mouthpieces typically work by pushing your jaw forward. Pushing your jaw forward expands the size of your upper airways and reduces the air resistance that causes sleep apnea.
These anti-snoring devices are best suited for people with mild or moderate cases of sleep apnea.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of an Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece
Anti-snore mouth guards work great for some people, and not so well for others. Just like with any other treatment (like sleep apnea pillows reviewed here), there are benefits and drawbacks to using this type of mouth guard.
The Advantages of Using Oral Appliances to Treat Sleep Apnea
One of the most obvious benefits to using a snoring mouth guard is that it’s compact, portable and noninvasive. There are no machines or masks to deal with, so you may find it more comfortable to sleep at night. And there’s no need to worry about going under the knife to treat chronic snoring.
Mouth guards are also more discreet, which means they’re practically invisible to your bed partner.
Most people experience symptom relief immediately from these devices, and because they don’t run on electricity, they save on energy costs.
The Drawbacks of Oral Appliances Therapy
Of course, there are also a few drawbacks to using an oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea.
If you have a more severe case of sleep apnea, a mouth guard may not be enough to provide you with symptom relief. In this case, a PAP machine or surgery may be your only options.
Some people who use oral appliances also develop temporal mandibular joint arthritis (TMJ) or pain.
Other people report strange sensations when they remove the device in the morning and sometimes have difficulty bringing their teeth back into their normal position.
While anti-snoring devices can be effective for treating sleep apnea, sleep studies are still recommended before and after you start treatment. Regular monitoring of the effectiveness of the mouth guard can help ensure that this therapy is the right choice for you.
Regular visits with your doctor and sleep studies may not necessarily be a drawback – unless you were hoping to buy a mouth guard and fix your condition without the help of your doctor (not recommended).
Our 3 Favorite Mouth Guards
There are dozens of anti-snore mouth guards on the market today, and some work better than others. We’re going to share our three favorite mouth guards for sleep apnea.
VitalSleep Mouthpiece for Snoring
To keep your airways open at night, the mouth guard moves the jaw forward.
VitalSleep adheres to the natural contours of your mouth for optimal fit and compliance. A flexible frame allows for enhanced comfort and better support, while the special Hinged Technology keeps your mouth open 25 degrees for better airflow.
VitalSleep is made in the USA and with medical-grade, BPA-free materials. It’s also FDA-cleared to reduce snoring.
Getting fitted for the VitalSleep mouthpiece does not require a trip to the doctor, although you can certainly make an appointment if you want. The mouth guard is moldable and adjustable, so you can find the perfect fit for your mouth.
Plus, the enlarged opening works to further improve airflow.
The sliding mechanism allows for micro-adjustments for an even better fit. Simply use the included hex tool to the turn the left and right adjustment screws.
VitalSleep comes with a protective carrying case and has a low-profile design. Backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee, you can be sure that your purchase is protected.
- Micro-adjustments and moldable design allow for a customized fit
- Hinged Technology keeps the jaw open slightly to keep airways open
- Made with high-quality, BPA-free materials
- FDA-cleared means the device is safe and effective
- Micro-adjustments can be a nuisance
The one thing that sets VitalSleep apart from other mouth guards is the very same thing that can be a nuisance to some people: micro-adjustments. The micro-adjustments are great for getting the perfect fit, but making the adjustment can be a nuisance.
To adjust the right and left side, you have to use the included hex tool. That can be difficult to do while the piece is in your mouth.
The micro-adjustments are the only real complaint with this mouth guard, and it’s a minor complaint at that.
Overall, the VitalSleep anti-snoring device is a great tool to help stop snoring and provide relief from mild sleep apnea.
Good Morning Snore Solution
Instead of keeping your jaw open, this device works by using Tongue Stabilization. What this means is that the mouthpiece moves the tongue forward to prevent it from falling back into the throat. The airways stay open, and you enjoy a restful night of sleep.
The Good Morning Snore Solution was developed by top researchers and through years of clinical testing. One study in the Journal of Sleep and Breathing May 2008 shows how well this device is for snoring.
Good Morning Snore Solution is cleared by the FDA, and lasts about a year.
- Easy to use
- Tongue Stabilization method is more comfortable than jaw-opening devices
- Simple technology – no fitting required
- Requires you to breathe through your nose
If you typically breathe through your mouth at night, you may have a harder time adjusting to the Good Morning Snore Solution. This mouthpiece requires you to breathe through your nose.
But overall, this mouth guard is effective and comfortable. If you’re looking for an alternative to conventional mouth guards, this may be a good option for you.
SleepTight Snoring Mouth Guard
Fitting takes five minutes or less with the SleepTight, and it’s so simple to use. FDA-cleared, you can be sure that this device is effective at stopping snoring and helping with symptoms of sleep apnea.
SleepTight was actually developed by Dr. Mike Williams, who is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
This mouth guard is moldable just like a conventional mouth guard you would wear to prevent teeth grinding. It also lasts up to two years.
The makers of SleepTight say their mouthpiece works better than conventional mouth guards because it fits tighter and is better at increasing air flow.
SleepTight comes with a protective container, and is made without latex or BPA materials.
- Easily moldable
- Comfortable fit
- Tighter fit allows for better airflow
- FDA-cleared as an anti-snoring device
- Needs to be replaced often
Like a conventional mouth guard, the SleepTight mouthpiece needs to be replaced every six months to two years.
Aside from this minor inconvenience, the SleepTight device is a great option for anyone who wants a familiar, comfortable fit. The manufacturer also allows you to try the device at a discounted rate, so you can see if this is the right mouth guard for you.