BACKGROUND: Performance mouthpieces (MP) are purported to optimize temporomandibular joint position and facilitate stronger jaw clenching in order to enhance athletic performance. Due to the varying nature and design of these products, research examining each specific MP is needed to determine individual product efficacy. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the efficacy of the AIRWAAV™ performance mouthpiece on peak muscular force and power output during maximum countermovement vertical jump (CMVJ) assessment. METHODS: Participants included nine male and fifteen female (n=24) college athletes. During the initial laboratory visit, athletes provided written informed consent, participated in MP fitting conducted according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and were familiarized with data collection procedures. A one-week MP familiarization period occurred, in which athletes wore the MP for all training and conditioning activities. Maximal CMVJ assessments were performed on an AMTI AccuPower portable force platform under four experimental conditions: jaw clenched with MP, jaw relaxed with MP, jaw clenched without MP, and jaw relaxed without MP. Athletes executed three maximum CMVJ trials with hands on hips for each experimental condition. A 30-second rest period separated each jump trial and a 5-minute rest period was provided between each experimental condition. Peak vertical force during the propulsive phase of the CMVJ was identified and muscular power output was calculated from the recorded force*time data. Variables from all jump trials for each condition were averaged for analysis. A repeated measures ANOVA was utilized to determine dependent variable differences among experimental conditions. RESULTS: Results indicated that there was no differences in peak force or power output between any experimental conditions (p > 0.05). However, there was considerable variability in individual response to experimental conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Wearing the AIRWAAV™ MP to enhance force and power cannot be globally recommended. However, some athletes demonstrated enhanced muscular force and power output in the MP and jaw clench conditions, while others experienced little or no change. Therefore, the efficacy of utilizing the AIRWAAV™ MP should be determined on an individual basis. Additionally, it is possible that MP use could positively affect performance variables during other assessment activities.

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