February 14, 2023 2 min read

There are several products out there that have similar uses and even similar components in some cases, but also some important differences that differentiate them in various settings. A great example here is the realm of mouth care, where two items fit this bill perfectly: Athletic mouthguards and "night guards" used for dental hygiene. 

At Damage Control Mouthguards, we offer a wide range of athletic mouthguards for any sport or activity, including football mouthguards, MMA mouthguards and many other options. And while we know these may seem similar to dental night guards in some ways (indeed, they are!), there are also some important differences that separate these two items and define each of them. This two-part blog series will go over some of these key differences, plus how to evaluate them within the selection of any athletic mouthguard.

Purpose and Goals of Use

The first and most important difference between an athletic mouthguard and a night guard lies in their respective purposes and goals. Athletic mouthguards are designed to protect teeth from impact, as well as provide cushioning for the jawbone in the event of direct contact with another athlete or object.

On the other hand, night guards are designed to reduce tooth grinding (bruxism). They do this by providing a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth, which keeps them from grinding against each other. 

Material Type

The second difference between these two products lies in the material used to construct them. Athletic mouthguards are typically made of a stronger, more durable material like EVA or polyethylene foam. This type of material provides better overall protection, but can also be relatively bulky - though modern improvements in athletic mouthguards have limited these concerns in recent years.

Night guards, on the other hand, are usually made of softer materials like silicone or thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). These materials allow for a much thinner design that fits easily into the wearer’s mouth, but may not offer the same level of protection as a thicker athletic mouthguard.


Another key difference between athletic mouthguards and night guards is the thickness of the material used to construct them. Athletic mouthguards are typically thicker than night guards, as they need to provide more overall protection than their dental counterparts. On the other hand, night guards can be quite thin in comparison, as they do not require the same amount of impact resistance or cushioning as an athletic mouthguard.

While these differences have grown smaller in recent years as athletic mouthguard design has improved, they still remain key points of distinction between the two types of mouthcare products.

In part two of our series, we'll go into more detail about how to evaluate these differences when choosing an appropriate athletic mouthguard for your sport or activity. For more on this, or to learn about any of our quality mouthguard options, speak to our team at Damage Control Mouthguards today.

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