Performance mouthpieces may help reduce stress during exercise and help athletes to breathe easier, says a piece in the New York Times' Fitness Section. We're not talking your generic rubber mouth guard here -- you know, the kind that turns you into a drooling mess; these hi-tech mouth pieces created by Makkar and Under Armour can run several hundred dollars to more than $2,000. The thin molds must be fitted by a dentist, and they position the jaw to prevent clenching and support breathing in order to aid better athlete performance. According to the article, a study by Rutgers on the Makkar product did not produce outstanding results, but noted that "for a performance athlete who has been training for a long time, even a 3, 4, or 5 percent increase in performance is hard to come by." Indeed, many professional athletes use the mouthpieces, including Derek Jeter, Shaquille O'Neill, and Terrell Owens.
-- Lisa Lombardi