If you recall, I had my fitting for the AgilityGuard mouthpiece when I visited Boulder.... here are pics of some of the process...
When they did the initial tests on me -- testing strength, flexibility, balance, etc with mouthpiece in / mouthpiece out -- I'm not gonna lie, I was completely skeptical. Some of the tests were the same ones I've seen done for PowerBalance, so that was like "uhhh, here we go." But then we did a bunch of tests, and they worked like I couldn't believe. We re-tested to make sure muscle memory wasn't kicking in, and the mouthpiece still proved to enhance what was being tested. Trust me, I was trying sooooo hard to prove it wrong, but the mouthpiece made a difference!
But the caveat: Doing little tests in a room is great and all; it shows promise for the device. But that alone doesn't give the answer to the big question: Does the mouthpiece work in a real-life setting, aka while you're doing your sport?
as well as...
In short, the mouthpiece creates "optimal alignment" of the jaw that has a positive impact the body from head to toe; this works to enhance all those factors listed above.
And the long version....
I asked Dr. Joe Andary, DDS, one of the dentists who fitted me (and a super nice guy), to give me the complete lowdown, and here's what he told me. A TriTawn exclusive lol:
"The 'Bite' how your teeth meet is an integral part of the human structural and functional anatomy to support body posture, balance and function. There are over 60 pairs of muscles above and below the lower jaw that determine head, upper neck, shoulder and jaw posturing during static and dynamic movements.
Optimization utilizes a TENS ( trans-cutneous electrical neural stimulation) machine to deliver low frequency stimulation via nerves to the muscles of the face and jaw to remove the torque and imbalances in the muscles. TENS along with precise computerized jaw tracking techniques are used to confirm the optimum position of the lower jaw within fractions of a millimeter. The AgilityGuard appliance provides a position of contact for the teeth which which eliminates jaw torque and muscle strain to support proper head and neck posture.
A 'quieter' nervous system, unstrained muscles and better alignment improves flexibility, range of motion, strength, balance and improved recovery."
So there you have it. A couple more comments about the AG/my thoughts... the guard actually protrudes your jaw somewhat, meaning it brings your bottom teeth forward. It's not uncomfortable at all to be in this position for extended periods (I know from experience), but it will make you talk funny and have a lisp; no biggie in my opinion. Also, it sticks well to your bottom teeth so you don't have to worry about it falling out while biking or running (I wouldn't wear it swimming. however). You can still drink and eat gels with it in, but I'd stay away from eating real food (bars, etc). Oh yea, like I said before, your front teeth don't touch so ripping open gels is tricky! I especially like how there's something there to bite down on instead of grinding your teeth, especially when you're working hard. I the only thing I didn't really care for was getting dry mouth and chapped lips more than I do sans AG (and not being able to chew gum lol). Hm, but maybe that makes me hydrate better/more often? Just be sure to wear lip balm/chapstick when wearing.
Again, I'm still not in a position to say if the AG lives up to all the claims. But I'm optimistic. It definitely hasn't made me worse... things go well when I train with it on, and I'm recovering well. But other factors surely play a role in that. I have to do more scientific-like testing to draw my own definite conclusions.
In the meantime, for more research click here. Even some triathletes are onto this.