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Mouthpieces are exploding in popularity amongst athletes due to the science-backed claims of their effects on athletic performance. AIRWAAV is the latest mouthpiece to hit the market, and I recently tried it for my Crossfit workouts.
So, is the AIRWAAV mouthpiece worth it? The AIRWAAV mouthpiece is worth it due to its high-quality materials and because it can help you better control your breathing when you wear it during your workouts. However, other mouthpieces have similar benefits, fit better, and are more comfortable to wear during longer training sessions.
In this AIRWAAV mouthpiece review, I’ll discuss the mouthpiece’s features and talk about why I believe there are better mouthpieces on the market.
Before we get into the full review, here’s a list of pros and cons for the AIRWAAV mouthpiece:
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- Small and compact
- Comes with a carrying case
- The mouthpiece was noticeable, but not distracting during workouts
- Can easily be cleaned by rinsing with water or brushing lightly with a toothbrush and toothpaste
- Most expensive out of the three mouthpieces I tested
- Doesn’t fit as tight as other mouthpieces
- AIRWAAV only offers one model, unlike other mouthpiece companies such as New Age Performance
Curious to learn more about the New Age Performance Mouthpiece? Read my complete review.
Things to Consider When Buying a Mouthpiece
Research studies have shown that mouthpieces have many positive effects on athletic performance, including improved breathing patterns during intense workouts and better recovery. Not all mouthpieces are the same, however, and choosing the right mouthpiece matters for anyone who wants to use one to improve their performance in the gym.
Below are a few things you should consider when buying a mouthpiece:
1. The sport you’re training for
Some mouthpieces like the AIRWAAV are ideal for endurance sports and functional fitness, while other mouthpieces such as the New Age Performance 6DS are better for powerlifting and strength-based sports. And if you plan to use a mouthpiece for high-contact sports, you’ll need one that offers more protection for your teeth.
2. Your budget
Another factor to consider when buying a mouthpiece is your budget. You can get a custom-fit mouthpiece from a dentist, but it can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Over-the-counter boil and bite mouthpieces like the AIRWAAV are significantly cheaper.
3. Your training history
If you’re a beginner and new to powerlifting, CrossFit, or any other kind of training, a mouthpiece isn’t necessary. You should focus on building a solid foundation for your sport first before incorporating a mouthpiece.
However, if you’ve been participating in your sport for a long time and you’re looking to improve your performance, a mouthpiece can give you an extra edge in your training sessions or competitions.
AIRWAAV Mouthpiece: Product Overview
The AIRWAAV mouthpiece just hit the market earlier this year, but its development began in 2004 when they approached Dr. Dena Garner, Director of Undergraduate Research at the Citadel, about leading research studies on the effects of mouthguards on athletic performance.
Based on the results from those research studies, the AIRWAAV mouthpiece was designed with three essential components:
1. An intake bar
The intake bar sits behind the bottom teeth and is supposed to help direct the tongue down and forward. I didn’t notice any difference in the placement of my tongue while I was wearing the mouthpiece, but I do think that in combination with the rest of the design, the intake bar helps keep my entire jaw in a better position during my workouts.
The intake bar is also fairly rigid, which contributes to the overall durability of the product.
2. Patented Vistamaxx™ Material
Vistamaxx™ is a hydrophobic fitting material that helps the mouthpiece stay in place during workouts. These pieces sit on top of the back of the teeth and cover most of the front teeth, leaving the first four teeth exposed.
I could definitely feel the hydrophobic pieces rubbing against the inside of my mouth, but they weren’t distracting.
However, while the Vistamaxx™ material made the molding process easy, I still couldn’t get the mouthpiece to fit as tight as I would have liked. The mouthpiece did move a bit once I started breathing heavier during my conditioning workouts, but it wasn’t so loose that I was afraid of it falling out.
3. A Bite Plate
The bite plate is designed to absorb gentle biting or clenching during exertion. I tend to clench my teeth when I’m lifting heavy weights, and the bite plate reduced the level of discomfort I feel in my jaw when I do so.
One thing I didn’t like about the bite plate is how low it is. The AIRWAAV sits lower in the mouth than other mouthpieces, which forces me to have to hold my upper teeth in a position that I don’t find comfortable. I’ll talk more about this later.
Testing the AIRWAAV Mouthpiece: A Detailed Review
Because I’m a big fan of the New Age Performance mouthpieces, I was curious to see how the AIRWAAV mouthpiece would compare. While I like the AIRWAAV mouthpiece and think it’s a solid product, it doesn’t live up to the New Age Performance products.
The AIRWAAV Molding Process
Before I used the AIRWAAV for the first time, I molded it following the instructions that come with the package. The molding process is quick and easy. However, AIRWAAV recommends working out immediately afterward to ensure a tight fit.
This isn’t a big deal if you train at home or if you want to just go for a quick run around the block once you mold the mouthpiece. But if you plan on waiting until you get to the gym to mold it, you’ll need to have access to a microwave or be able to boil water in order to complete the molding process.
Alternatively, if you don’t plan on training immediately after the molding process, you can put the AIRWAAV into a bowl of cold water for 5-10 minutes to help set the mold.
One interesting note about the AIRWAAV molding process is that after you warm up the mouthpiece (either by dropping it into a bowl of boiling water or covering it with a wet paper towel and heating it in the microwave), you drop the mouthpiece into a bowl of ice water before molding it to your mouth.
When molding the New Age Performance mouthpieces, you fit the mouthpiece to your teeth after you heat it up, then drop it into a bowl of cold water to set the mold in place. Because of this, I was able to get a tighter fit with my New Age Performance mouthpiece.
Testing the AIRWAAV Mouthpiece
I tested my AIRWAAV for both lifting and short interval-based conditioning sessions.
Each of my lifting sessions lasted about an hour, and I was able to keep the AIRWAAV in the entire time. I did notice some slight jaw discomfort towards the end of these training sessions, and my jaw ached when I took it out, but it went away after a few minutes.
My conditioning sessions consisted of short, CrossFit-style workouts that lasted about 15 minutes. My heart rate tends to spike just a few minutes into these kinds of intense workouts. But when I was wearing the mouthpiece, I found that I was better able to control my breathing, which kept my heart rate more manageable throughout the workout.
However, I tend to breathe heavily through my mouth during my conditioning sessions, especially near the end. The AIRWAAV’s bite plates don’t come up as high as the New Age Performance mouthpieces do, and because the AIRWAAV didn’t fit as tight as I would have liked, I had to keep my mouth more closed than I’m used to in order to keep it securely in place.
When I trained with the AIRWAAV, I did notice that my heart rate was able to return back to normal after just a couple of minutes of finishing my workouts. I also didn’t experience as much fatigue and soreness after my training sessions.
To be fair, I haven’t been able to lift very heavy due to an injury, but I think the fact that my heart rate returned to normal as quickly as it did shows the effectiveness of the mouthpiece on recovery.
During each of my workouts, I definitely felt the hydrophobic flaps of the AIRWAAV mouthpiece on the inside of my mouth. As I mentioned above, they weren’t distracting, but they were noticeable. The New Age Performance mouthpieces don’t have these flaps, which makes their products more comfortable to wear for longer training sessions.
Throughout my workouts, I was able to talk and drink water without having to remove the mouthpiece. I did notice some saliva buildup, but according to AIRWAAV’s responses to other users on social media with a similar issue, it should improve the more the mouthpiece is used.
What Others Say About the AIRWAAV Mouthpiece
The AIRWAAV mouthpiece has only been on the market for a few months, so reviews are still coming in. Initial reviews from CrossFitters and endurance athletes seem promising, however.
This reviewer talks about how the AIRWAAV protects his teeth during heavy lifts. While this reviewer specifically mentions Olympic lifting, the benefits can carry over to powerlifting:
This reviewer ran a marathon while wearing an AIRWAAV and was able to control his breathing for 4+ hours:
This CrossFitter was able to breathe more efficiently while doing double unders – and if you’ve ever done a WOD with double unders, you know how out of breath they can make you:
Take a look at what mouthpieces top athletes are wearing:
- What Mouthpiece Does Rich Froning Wear?
- What Mouthpiece Does Brian Shaw Wear?
The AIRWAAV is still new to the market, but other mouthpieces have been used by athletes for several years to improve their performance both in the gym and in competitions.
While the AIRWAAV has already received positive reviews from endurance athletes and CrossFitters, I recommend the New Age Performance 5DS mouthpiece instead because I was able to get a tighter fit and I find it more comfortable to wear for longer training sessions.
Click here to check out the AIRWAAV mouthpiece.
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.