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Many people (and their partners) lose sleep due to chronic snoring. Snoring normally occurs when your tongue and tissues in your mouth and throat become too relaxed. Air passing through creates vibrations in the tissue, producing the telltale snoring sound. Snoring can be highly disruptive and may also indicate serious medical conditions.
Snorers often find relief using mouthpieces designed to reduce snoring. These devices, also called mouthguards, fall into two general categories. Mandibular advancement devices, or MADs, fit inside the mouth and push the lower jaw forward to open up your airway. Tongue retaining devices (TRDs) grip the tongue and prevent it from falling into the back of the throat, which commonly causes snoring for back sleepers.
The Sleep Foundation team tested numerous anti-snoring mouthpieces and mouthguards and came up with a list of reliable picks. We based each selection on brand and product research, in addition to testing for both MADs and TRDs.
If you’d like to learn about each of our mouthpiece and mouthguard picks, we’ve summarized our findings below. For general information about anti-snoring devices, scroll further down to read our in-depth guide. We discuss different types of anti-snoring mouthpieces and mouthguards, how these devices work, pros and cons of using them, and additional strategies to minimize snoring for you and your partner.
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The SnoreRX Plus is an advanced MAD designed for boil-and-bite molding. Each SnoreRX comes outfitted with a plastic handle that rests between the upper and lower trays. Rather than boiling the device in a pot on your stovetop, bring a cup of water to a boil in your microwave and then place the SnoreRX Plus – fitting handle included – inside the cup. Make sure the entire device is completely submerged for exactly 60 seconds. After one minute has elapsed, remove the SnoreRX using the handle and place it directly into a cup of tap water for two seconds. Now, you’ll be ready to bite down onto the device for 30 seconds using your upper and lower teeth.
The SnoreRX also offers Full lateral adjustment settings. Both sides of the device feature tabs with 1mm measurements up to 6mm, along with an arrow to indicate the current setting. Squeeze the upper tray on both sides to adjust the advancement level, making sure each side is at the same setting. Always remove the device from your mouth before adjusting. According to SnoreRX, most users prefer settings of 3mm to 5mm. The company recommends using a given setting for at least three to five nights before adjusting to a new one.
The SnoreRX Plus has a slightly lower price-point than the average MAD. The device comes with a 30-night trial that includes a full refund, minus any shipping charges. SnoreRX offers shipping to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and most European Union countries.
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For most customized anti-snoring mouthpieces, purchasers must pay in full up front and then may be able to return the product at a later date if they are not satisfied. The SleepTight Mouthpiece is a bit different. Each buyer receives a 30-night trial period for testing out the mouthpiece and deciding whether it’s right for them. They must pay a small trial fee, but won’t need to purchase the mouthpiece until the trial period expires.
As a combination anti-snoring mouthpiece, the SleepTight Mouthpiece repositions the jaw and pulls the tongue forward to reduce snoring. A large front airway of 6mm helps people who breathe through their mouths while sleeping. This opening also helps passively retain the tongue to further open the airway. The jaw advancement is preset to 5mm, but this can be increased if more relief is needed after the first few nights. The mouthpiece does not contain any latex or BPA material.
Even if you decide to commit to the SleepTight mouthpiece, its full sticker price is still lower than that of the average customizable MAD. The up-front trial fee covers the cost of shipping for all U.S. orders.
Best Tongue Retaining Device
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The only TRD among our top picks, the Good Morning Snore Solution is an exceptionally lightweight anti-snoring mouthpiece. Designed for a universal fit, the pear-shaped device is outfitted with a small slot to fit your tongue. Gentle suction keeps your tongue in place and prevents it from falling into the back of your throat, which can block the airway and is a common cause of snoring. For this reason, back sleepers in particular may benefit from the Good Morning Snore Solution.
For best results, the manufacturer suggests placing the device’s thin flange between the lower lip and the teeth, and then suck air out of the slow while pinching the rounded area with your fingers. Insert your tongue as you stop squeezing, then relax the tongue to fill the slot. The rounded part will protrude from the mouth, which may make stomach sleeping difficult, and some users have a hard time swallowing at first. However, many snorers experience fewer nightly episodes by keeping their tongue in place, rather than advancing their jaw. To remove the device, pinch the rounded part and slide out your tongue.
The Good Morning Snore Solution and other TRDs are suitable for people who cannot use a MAD. These include those with dentures, braces, or dental implants, as well as people who experience temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and other jaw pain issues. TRDs can also effectively minimize teeth grinding. One Good Morning Snore Solution device costs about $90, but you can purchase a two-piece bundle for $130. This TRD is backed by a 30-night sleep trial.
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Our next pick, the ZQuiet, operates a bit differently than the common boil-and-bite mouthpiece. This MAD is outfitted with a hinge connecting the upper and lower trays. After placing the ZQuiet in your mouth, the device will automatically adjust to the dimensions of your mouth and jaw without a mold or customizations. This makes the device fairly hassle-free and easy to use comfortably compared to other anti-snoring mouthpieces. Without the boil-and-bite mold, you’ll also enjoy easier side to side movements. The device’s thin profile also ensures steady airflow to help you breathe more easily.
Your ZQuiet purchase includes two individual devices. One advances your jaw by 2mm, and the other advances by 6mm. You may find one more comfortable than the other. Alternatively, you can use both if your jaw advancement comfort level varies from night to night. The ZQuiet is composed entirely of soft thermoplastic, and does not contain any latex or BPA plastic. Storage containers to keep the devices clean and hygienic are included with your purchase.
The two-piece ZQuiet set costs $79.95, which is a reasonable price-point for an MAD – especially if you use both devices interchangeably. The company offers a 60-night sleep trial, as well. ZQuiet recommends replacing the device(s) every six months. ZQuiet will deliver anywhere in the U.S. and to many international locations. Standard and expedited shipping are available. Orders ship on the same day if placed before 11am Eastern Standard Time.
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The VitalSleep offers above-average customization for an MAD. This is a boil-and-bite mouthpiece, meaning the top and bottom are padded with malleable thermoplastic material. Boil the MAD in hot water, then bite into the thermoplastic to make an impression. This ensures the VitalSleep will fit the unique contours of your teeth and gums. (Scroll down to the buyer’s guide to see our step-by-step process for preparing and molding a boil-and-bite mouthpiece.)
In addition to the precise mold, the VitalSleep can be adjusted in 1 millimeter (mm) increments up to 8mm. This allows most people to comfortably use the device, regardless of how their lower jaw is shaped. A small tool is included to adjust the lower tray and advance the jaw, which will open the snorer’s airway for improved breathing. VitalSleep offers a the mouthpiece in one universal-fit size. The device is hypoallergenic, and does not contain any latex or bisphenol A (BPA) plastic.
The VitalSleep devices are reasonably priced and a bit more affordable than the average MAD . The company offers free delivery anywhere in the world, and all orders ship the same day; you may receive your VitalSleep in the mail within as little as two days, but expect a longer wait time if you live in a rural or remote location. The device is backed by a 60-night sleep trial and a 2-year warranty. Comparatively, most competing MADs come with shorter sleep trials and no warranty coverage whatsoever.
Our testing team is made up of sleep product experts, each with years of experience researching and evaluating various products. We tested more than a dozen anti-snoring mouthpieces and mouthguards before selecting the top picks listed above. These include both mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and tongue-retaining devices (TRDs).
The evaluation process involved testers sleeping with each mouthpiece in place for at least one night. We focused on assessments from testers who occasionally or frequently snore. Those who don’t usually snore provided more general feedback about qualities such as ease of customization and overall comfort. These top picks reflect the collective findings of our testing team.
The most important consideration when choosing an anti-snoring mouthpiece (also known as a mouthguard) is whether you prefer the manual jaw advancement of an MAD or the tongue-restraining suction of a TRD. These devices may require an adjustment period as you become acclimated to their feel, especially while trying to sleep.
Most over-the-counter MADs and TRDs sold today cost between $50 and $150 apiece. You should consult your doctor before buying one of these devices to determine which type (if any) will be suitable for you. Medical professionals may also offer tips and advice on models that work best.
There is no cure for snoring, but the best snoring aids will significantly reduce symptoms. Many snorers benefit from using an anti-snoring mouthpiece. Snoring affects roughly 90 million adults nationwide. For more than one-third of these sleepers, snoring is a chronic – if not nightly – issue.
Snoring usually occurs due to a restricted airflow through the breathing passages. This can happen for different reasons. If your soft palate is relatively thick or hangs somewhat low, then your airway will be narrower and snoring is more likely. Chronic congestion and other nasal problems may also cause snoring. Being overweight or obese can cause extra tissue to accumulate around the airway, as well.
Another common snoring culprit is alcohol. If you drink before going to sleep, your throat may relax a bit too much. This can cause the tongue to fall back into your throat, blocking the airway. The throat muscles may also relax if you are excessively tired or sleep deprived. Additionally, sleeping on your back leaves you most vulnerable to snoring because the tongue is more likely to block the airway.
Over time, chronic snoring can lead to further complications. These include daytime sleepiness and fatigue, mood swings and angry outbursts, difficulty focusing on tasks, and a higher risk of being involved in a vehicular or workplace accident. For those with non-apnea-related snoring issues, MAD and TRD mouthpieces can decrease snoring episodes on a nightly basis. These devices are much more affordable than upper airway surgery and other medical procedures used to treat snoring. Be sure to speak to your doctor before purchasing an MAD or TRD, or or trying one for the first time.
While effective for many, you may find that anti-snoring mouthpieces and mouthguards are not right for you. Some people find these devices uncomfortable, and even painful at times. They may also be ineffective at treating heavy snoring from conditions like obstructive sleep apnea.
Despite their effectiveness against snoring for many, anti-snoring mouthpieces are fairly simple devices with a small number of individual parts. How they work depends on whether the mouthpiece is an MAD or TRD.
MADs are the most common type of anti-snoring mouthpiece. Most have thermoplastic material in the upper and lower trays where your teeth are intended to fit. When exposed to boiling water, the thermoplastic will soften and you’ll be able to bite down into both trays, creating a customized mold. Unless the device’s instructions say otherwise, the step-by-step “boil-and-bite” process is as follows.
Assuming the mold is successful, the MAD will advance your jaw by at least 1mm once it is placed inside the mouth with your teeth in the upper and lower trays. Customizable models like the VitalSleep and SnoreRX listed above can be manually adjusted in increments of 1mm to ensure a comfortable advancement level. Other MAD models, such as the ZQuiet, automatically adjust using a flexible hinge that adapts to the shape of your jaw and mouth. By advancing the jaw forward, MADs can widen your breathing passages to allow easier air passage and reduce the risk of snoring.
TRDs are a bit more straightforward. Most TRDs resemble the pacifiers used by babies and infants. They are outfitted with flanges that rest against the inner folds of your upper and lower lip, along with an opening where the tongue fits. This opening is fairly narrow to promote suction, which keeps the tongue near the front of the mouth and away from the back of your throat. TRDs are normally designed for universal fit, so you won’t need to follow boil-and-bite instructions or customize their settings.
In the next section, we’ll compare the pros and cons MADs and TRDs
Now that we’ve established how MADs and TRDs work, let’s see how these anti-snoring mouthpieces compare to one another. MADs and TRDs both have the potential to reduce snoring episodes for sleepers. However, each device carries different advantages and disadvantages for sleepers.
MADs and TRDs achieve the same outcome – less snoring, in most cases – using completely different means and mechanisms. As you determine which type of anti-snoring mouthpiece will work best, consider the following factors.
Anti-snoring mouthpieces typically cost between $50 and $150 apiece. MADs are a bit more expensive, with an average price range of $75 to $150 per device. Most TRDs cost $100 or less. Free shipping may or may not be available, depending on the manufacturer’s delivery policy, but full refunds are usually granted if returns are allowed. Some brands also offer their mouthguards at a discounted rate if you purchase two or more at once.
$50 to $150 might sound expensive for a device that will, in all likelihood, need to be replaced within two years. However, anti-snoring mouthpieces cost much less than upper airway surgery and other medical procedures intended to treat snoring symptoms.
Are they safe for everyone?
Anti-snoring mouthguards are generally considered safe, but you should always consult your doctor before trying one for the first time.
Because they physically advance the jaw forward, MADs can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which is characterized by pain in the jaw and its surrounding muscles. MADs and TRDs may also cause pain and irritation to the teeth and gums, especially if the device is not custom molded.
It’s imperative to keep your anti-snoring mouthpiece clean. Sterilize with hot water after each use and clean the device regularly to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.
Before purchasing a device, carefully research the top models on your list to see if there have been any known defects or safety issues associated with those products. You can also reach out to customer service personnel to inquire about potential safety concerns.
How important is certification and what should I look for?
Under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MADs, TRDs, and other “intraoral devices for snoring and/or sleep apnea” are considered Class II medical devices. This means they present some risk to users because they come in direct contact with the body. As such, the FDA regulates the sale and distribution of these devices. Mouthpieces must be thoroughly tested and proven to be effective before the FDA will clear them for sale. Any device you buy should carry a “cleared by FDA” label.
Do I need a prescription?
Most anti-snoring mouthpieces can be sold over the counter and do not require a prescription. However, you will need a prescription for certain MAD and TRD models, as well some advanced custom mouthpieces. Prescription requirements, if any, will typically be listed on the online product pages for these devices.
How does custom fitting work?
Most MAD mouthpieces are designed for boil-and-bite customization. Simply submerge the device in boiled water to soften the thermoplastic in its upper and lower trays, then remove, cool, and bite down on both thermoplastic layers. (Specific instructions vary by model.)
For more expensive custom mouthpieces, you may be asked to make a thermoplastic mold at home and mail the sample to the manufacturer, who will then produce a device custom-fitted to your teeth and jaw.
Some MADs (including the ZQuiet) use hinges and other mechanisms to automatically adjust to your mouth, so customization is not needed. Since TRDs have a one-size-fits-all design, these devices are generally not customizable.
Can I wear it with dentures?
If you wear dentures, you should avoid using MAD mouthguards. These devices physically move the jaw forward. In doing so, they can interfere with dentures – and in some cases, dislodge them. MADs are not recommended for people who have dental implants or loose teeth, either. TRDs, on the other hand, do not mold to the teeth and are perfectly denture-friendly (though you should first check with your doctor to make sure these devices are right for you).
Do mouthguards prevent bruxism (teeth grinding)?
MADs can prevent, or at least minimize, nighttime teeth grinding. These devices have upper and lower trays to hold and separate the teeth. Assuming the device is properly fitted, it will keep your upper and lower teeth in place and prevent them from coming into contact with one another.
TRDs do not separate the teeth, and there is no evidence they reduce nighttime teeth grinding.
How do I clean my mouthpiece?
Cleaning instructions vary by model, but you’ll want to sterilize the mouthpiece with hot water after each use. Regularly scrub the device with a cleaning solution to prevent bacterial buildup. You’ll also want to store the mouthpiece in your bathroom cabinet, or another relatively cool place where it won’t be exposed to excessive heat or moisture. Many MAD and TRD manufacturers offer a protective case for their devices.
Do mouthguard manufacturers offer returns? What about warranties?
Anti-snoring mouthpieces often come with a sleep trial of 30 to 60 nights. This allows you to use the device for at least one month before deciding whether to keep it or return it for a refund. Shipping charges are usually non-refundable.
Warranties are less common, but some MAD and TRD models are backed by some sort of manufacturer’s guarantee. In most cases, the warranty will cover the device for up to one year.
MAD and TRD mouthpieces can be very effective for some sleepers, but these devices may not be right for you – especially if you experience severe chronic snoring. Other treatment options for snoring include the following:
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by temporary loss of breath during the night, as well as heavy snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a physical obstacle blocking the airway, such as the tongue or abnormal tissue buildup, while central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain cannot transmit signals to muscles that promote breathing.
For people with sleep apnea, positive air pressure (PAP) therapy can reduce the frequency and severity of their nighttime episodes. This therapy involves a machine that draws in outside air using a fan, humidifies and pressurizes the air, and then delivers it to the user through a connective hose and a face mask that covers the mouth and/or nostrils. There are three common types of PAP therapy.
PAP therapy machines, humidifiers, and face masks all require a doctor’s prescription. Consult your physician to learn more if you experience sleep apnea symptoms.
MADs and TRDs are not the only devices you can use to combat snoring. Another example is Provent, a device primarily used to treat sleep apnea symptoms. Provent consists of two air filters placed inside each nostril. This relatively non-invasive device may reduce snoring episodes by a significant extent, but you’ll need a doctor’s prescription to purchase Provent.
For more severe cases of snoring, a palatal lift prosthesis may be another option. These prostheses are used to treat palatopharyngeal incompetence, a condition characterized by difficulty closing the nasal passages when speaking or swallowing. This can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, and with it, chronic snoring. As the name implies, the prosthesis elevates the soft palate to widen the airway and promote better circulation. You’ll need to undergo a medical procedure to have the prosthesis installed, so this may not be your most cost-effective option.
According to the Mayo Clinic, serious snoring may necessitate a surgical procedure. Several procedures can be used to mitigate snoring symptoms. These include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, during which surgeons remove tissue from the back of your throat to broaden the airway. A similar procedure, radiofrequency tissue ablation, involves a low-intensity signal that decreases tissue around the palate, throat, and tongue. A third option is maxillomandibular advancement surgery, which permanently moves the upper and lower jaws.
Medical researchers continue to discover new treatment methods. One of the more recent innovations is hypoglossal nerve stimulation. For this procedure, surgeons essentially reprogram the nerves that control your tongue’s movements in order to prevent airway blockage.
Surgery can be very expensive, even with health insurance. You should consider any of these procedures as a last resort for snoring treatment.
Back sleepers are more susceptible to snoring than those who use other sleep positions because the tongue is likely to fall into the back of the throat and block the airway. For some back sleepers, more pillow loft (or thickness) is needed to elevate the head and keep the tongue closer to the front of the mouth. If your head tends to fall too far back on your pillow, then you should consider a thicker pillow – or a different sleep position.
Adjustable beds can also be beneficial to snoring back sleepers. These beds can be raised or lowered at the head and foot, allowing you to sleep with your head elevated while the rest of your body lies flush with the bed. The downside: adjustable beds can be quite expensive.
You may experience less snoring by changing your daily and nightly routines. Losing weight can reduce snoring by a significant extent, as being obese or overweight are considered major risk factors. Quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol consumption – especially before bedtime – can also help you cut down on snoring episodes.
If you experience chronic snoring and normally sleep on your back, then you should consider the side position. The tongue is less likely to fall into the back of the throat while you’re lying on your side. You can also prevent airway blockage by sleeping on your stomach, but this position is associated with more aches and pains, and is generally discouraged.
Lastly, the trick to less snoring might be getting more sleep. If you go to bed feeling sleep deprived, the muscles around your throat will relax more during the night and the potential for airway blockage will be much higher. Most adults should sleep at least seven to nine hours each night, including on the weekends.
The best anti-snoring mouthpiece (also known as a mouthguard) depends on your personal preferences. Most mouthguards fall into one of two categories. Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) have upper and lower trays designed to fit around your teeth and physically move the jaw forward, which expands the breathing passage and allows more air to pass through.
MADs are often “boil-and-bite” mouthguards made of thermoplastic. Owners boil them in water, then bite into the thermoplastic to create a customized impression. After the material cools and hardens, the MAD will be ready to use. Other MADs are specifically created using a customer’s dental impressions, and some can later be adjusted for advancement level.
The customized nature of MADs makes them very effective. They also allow sleepers to breathe through their mouths, and a lack of protruding parts means these mouthguards are compatible with any sleep position. However, MADs are associated with more jaw pain and stiffness, drooling, and other negative side effects. Many people – including those with braces or dentures – won’t be able to use them, and a prescription is normally required.
The other type of anti-snoring mouthguard is the tongue-retaining device (TRD), which are designed with flanges that rest against your lips and a small compartment for the tongue. The compartment essentially suctions the tongue in place, preventing it from falling back into the throat – a common source of heavy snoring.
TRDs are lighter and easier to wear than MADs, and not associated with as many adverse effects. They also won’t interfere with dentures or braces, and most don’t require a prescription. However, TRDs usually can’t be customized, and instead have a “one-size-fits-all” design that will serve some sleepers better than others. They can also restrict breathing by forming a seal around the mouth.
Mouthguards can be very effective for treating heavy snoring, especially custom-fitted models. However, additional remedies can also be helpful. For instance, sleeping on your back and consuming alcohol before bed are two common reasons why people snore. Avoiding the back position and refraining for drinks in the hours before going to sleep can further alleviate snoring if you use a mouthguard.
Some people snore due to a medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which not only promotes heavy snoring but also causes people to wake up choking or gasping for air throughout the night. While mouthguards can mitigate the snoring issue, a CPAP or BiPAP machine is usually the best form of treatment for people with OSA.
Some people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) benefit from using an anti-snoring mouthguard. CPAP therapy is widely considered the most effective treatment option for OSA, but a mouthguard can improve airflow and reduce the snoring associated with this sleep disorder. If you have been diagnosed with OSA and CPAP therapy has not been effective, talk to your doctor about anti-snoring mouthguards and other alternative treatments.
While snoring mouthguards don’t move your teeth the way braces do, they can change the position of your jaw while you use them. MAD-style mouthguards physically advance your jaw forward to create more room for air to pass through your breathing passages. This can cause discomfort in some sleepers and can lead to TMJ or other irritations. People with dentures, cracked teeth, dental implants, or braces should not use MADs unless directed to do so by a physician.
TRD-style mouthguards create more breathing room by restricting tongue movement rather than altering the position of your jaw. As a result, TRDs are less likely to cause jaw or tooth discomfort. Consult with your doctor before choosing an anti-snoring mouthguard.
Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
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