I think wearing a mouthguard in BJJ is very important. Even though there is no punching/kicking/striking of any sort in BJJ, it is very possible to get accidentally struck in the mouth by a passing knee, arm or leg. I have personally been knee’d, slapped, punched, and kicked in the face on accident, and I have been able to shake it off without thinking about it – probably thanks to my mouth guard.
There are two mouth guards I have tried: the Shock Doctor Gel Max and the Shock Doctor Gel Nano. Let’s start with what is similar about them. First, the fit is great. This is thanks to the custom fitting process. Both of these mouth guards are made with a gel substance that you soften by boiling. Long story short, once softened you bite into it to get a snug and custom fit, then let it harden. The entire process is very easy and takes less than 3 minutes once you have the water boiling.
I started with the Gel Max given the great reviews and price point ($10). Although the fit was great and I felt very well protected – I could not completely close my mouth. Due to the size, my upper lip had trouble closing over the front of the mouth guard. This was because the mouthguard protruded too much. Everything else about the mouth guard fit fine and felt low profile. Having your mouth open when rolling and coming into contact with the mat, your opponent’s gi, chest, etc. was not ideal, so I wanted to find an even lower profile mouth guard.
Enter the Gel Nano, Shock Doctor’s lowest profile mouth guard. Let’s just say I was very happy with the result. I felt a good amount of protection (perhaps slightly less than the Gel Max), and I was able to close my mouth comfortably. Also, it does not feel like an obstacle when I am rolling. Well worth it even though it is double the price at $20. I have now been rolling with it for over a month at 4-5 times per week, and it is working just fine. I highly recommend the Shock Doctor Gel Nano mouthguard for use in BJJ.
I also recommend Shock Doctor’s Antimicrobial Mouth Guard Case to accompany your mouthguard. It is a very convenient way to store your mouth guard as you can attach it easily to the outside of your bag so it can air dry and it also has a drip slot for saliva. In any case, I always wash it after each use with soap, but this makes sure it doesn’t get all yucky before I have time to wash it.
All that said, I promise I don’t work for Shock Doctor! I just went with them because after a little research, they seemed to be the most cutting edge in terms of the technology that goes into their protective gear.