While watching Monday Night Football on November 2nd, I heard a claim that made me think that somehow either a comedy skit or an unbelievable infomercial had been spliced into the game feed.

Jon Gruden (or a REALLY good impersonator) was talking about how the New Orleans Saints were using a new MOUTHGUARD to increase their performance.  Ron Jaworski (or a “Jaws” impersonator) seemed in on the joke as well.  They touted the product’s benefits to include increased flexibility, better spinal alignment, reduced probability for concussion, the ability leap tall buildings in a single bound, walk on water and extend a certain portion of a player’s manhood.

{Okay, some of those benefits weren’t actually mentioned, but the way they were hyping it, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility they were going to try to make the claim.}

Having attempted it before unsuccessfully, one thing that struck me as interesting was the fact that Jon Gruden didn’t have any problems talking with the mouthguard in place.  There was no slurring, no visible drool, and he was just as coherent as he usually is.

Because it’s hard to communicate with team mates while using a $2 mouthguard and because I figured some of the claims might be true, I had enough interest to do a little research into the product – which depending on the price, I’d look into procuring for myself.

What did I find?

The Pure Power Mouthguard by a company called Makkar.

The first thing I was interested in was the price, which made it perfectly clear that this product was not for me (nor anyone I know) with a MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) at just below $600.  And that’s for the basic model.

It’s more than twice that amount ($1250) if you want the PPM 1.0.

The PPM Elite?  $2000.

The Signature Series version for either Shaquille O’Neil or Terrell Owens?  Nearly $2300.

Clearly I’m not going to be purchasing any of the options, and while I can’t say whether or not the product works, I can tell you a little more about it, and you can be as skeptical as you’d like to be.

The Makkar PPM™ naturally aligns the athlete’s jaw, and in doing so, has been shown to enhance explosive power, balance, range of motion, flexibility, endurance and oxygen flow during training and competition, allowing the user to maximize their performance.

The process of properly aligning the jaw position is based on the principles of Neuro-muscular Dentistry, which indicate that a “good” bite is achieved when the muscles of the face, jaw and neck are allowed to be at their most efficient state, which is a restful state. What we have observed, and demonstrate time and again, is an immediate improvement in posture, range of motion, flexibility, balance, and strength. Our users have reported to us increased endurance and faster recovery. We believe that these results flow from a combination of factors, including a more efficiently functioning neuromusculature, and enhanced oxygen flow through an increased airway.

If you’re still interested in purchasing one of these miracle products, you might ask yourself where it’s available. Don’t go to Target / Walmart / Sports Authority looking for one, because you probably won’t find it…

The PPM is a custom-fitted appliance offered only through our network of PPM certified dentists specializing in neuromuscular dentistry.

Yep, you have to go to the dentist.  The official website provides some insight into what you’ll encounter when getting fitted for your PPM.

Sensors Setup

Sensors Setup

The images above show what you’ll encounter when you undergo step 1 of the process to be fitted with the mouthguard.  Here’s how the official website explains it:

The first step in the PPM™ 1.0 fitting process is to relax the muscles to allow the jaws to come to physiologic rest – effectively de-programming the nerve patterns that accompany an improper bite and a misaligned jaw.

A TENS unit is used to provide mild muscle and nerve stimulation to relax jaw muscles in a process that typically takes 45 minutes.

The sensors don’t scare me, and I’d welcome a 45 minute period where all that’s expected of me is to rest.  The next step?

Once the muscles have been relaxed, the PPM™ Dentists applies neuromuscular science principles and measurements to determine the jaw position, customized for each individual, that allows for immediate improvements in a number of areas vital to sports performance.

If you go for the PPM Elite or one of the PPM Signature Series products, you’ll get even more analysis prior to receiving your mouthguard.

Analysis involved for PPM Elite & PPM Signature Series

Analysis involved for PPM Elite & PPM Signature Series

Straight from the site:

Having relaxed the muscles, the PPM™ neuromuscular dentist then utilizes an advanced computer technology to track and measure the movements of the jaws. The technology enables the neuromuscular dentist to determine, to within a range of 0.7 millimeters, the precise 6 dimensional jaw position that unlocks the body’s potential.

In the optimal bite position, there is a gap between the upper and lower teeth that must be precisely and accurately captured and reproduced for each individual. The PPM™ that is made to precisely fill that gap is your very own “power key” – it is your custom-made key to unlock your body’s potential. There is no master key and no “one key fits all” solution. Every individual has his or her key.

The neuromuscular dentist determines your precise optimal alignment position, forms a precise custom mold to capture your unique “bite registration”. Your PPM™ Dentist will then take you through a series of exercises to ensure that your optimal bite has been captured.

You now have your “jaw position fingerprint” – your unique power key – used to produce your Makkar PPM™ Elite Powerguard.

I still don’t understand how all of this would work, but using their “Find a PPM Dentist” functionality through their website, there are a few places I within driving distance, but large portions of Virginia can’t say the same.  Maybe economics is the cause for why so few dentists offer this service, but I have to wonder if it’s their lack of faith in the claims made by the product manufacturer and its testimonials.

If the good people of Makkar PPM want to hook me up with a free mouthguard, I’d be happy to review their product.  Heck, if it can improve the athletic performance of an overweight, late-20’s IT Professional who plays floor hockey in his spare time, that might be a better sales pitch than saying how it improved performance for T.O. or Shaq.