Teeth clenching during exercise is important for sports performance and health. Recently, several mouth guard (MG)-type wearable devices for exercise were studied because they do not disrupt the exercise. In this study, we developed a wearable MG device with force sensors on both sides of the maxillary first molars to monitor teeth clenching. The force sensor output increased linearly up to 70 N. In four simple occlusion tests, the trends exhibited by the outputs of the MG sensor were consistent with those of an electromyogram (EMG), and the MG device featured sufficient temporal resolution to measure the timing of teeth clenching. When the jaw moved, the MG sensor outputs depended on the sensor position. The MG sensor output from the teeth-grinding test agreed with the video-motion analysis results. It was comparatively difficult to use the EMG because it contained a significant noise level. Finally, the usefulness of the MG sensor was confirmed through an exercise tolerance test. This study indicated that the developed wearable MG device is useful for monitoring clenching timing and duration, and the degree of clenching during exercise, which can contribute to explaining the relationship between teeth clenching and sports performance.
Keywords: electromyogram; force transducer; masseter muscle; mouth guards; occlusal force; sports performance; teeth clenching; wearable sensor.