By day, Dr. John Orchard is a dentist in Santa Maria. What his many patients might not know is that he also happens to be the Central Coast’s resident authority on the Pure Power Mouth Guard, a breakthrough in sports technology that combines the sciences of neuromuscular dentistry, motor control, physiology, and countless others to create the perfect bite plate for athletes, amateur and pro alike.
For years, Orchard has been treating patients whose problems stem from an uneven bite. Symptoms ranging from ringing of the ears to receding gums can eventually turn into aching and permanently damaged muscles. Contrary to what one may think, the damaged muscles are not simply in your mouth - shoulder, neck, arm, hand, back, leg, and foot muscles can all be disrupted by an uneven bite. “It’s a fairly precise position,” explained Orchard, “a position that can change over your lifetime.”
Noting the incredible impact the alignment of teeth have on the rest of the body’s muscular condition, a colleague of Orchard’s arrived at an idea: perhaps a proper bite could lead to an overall better athletic performance. “When the teeth are in a physiologic rest position, the core muscles are relaxed, allowing all other muscles to function at a superior level,” said Orchard.
When the relaxed jaw comes down and forward slightly, it opens up the airway. The increase of oxygen intake frees up muscles, including those in the back and stomach, for recruitment. “Studies have shown that once athletes are fitted with a Pure Power Mouth Guard,” he claimed, “they display improved balance, rotation, strength, and overall endurance.”
Athletes have taken notice. Los Angeles Dodgers star left fielder Manny Ramirez is one of the most notable examples of a Pure Power athlete - not a bad poster boy considering the Dodgers nearly made the World Series. Other users include Milwaukee Buck Michael Redd, St. Louis Ram Josh Brown, Dallas Cowboy Terrell Owens, and almost the entirety of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball “Redeem Team.”
“The mouth guard is perfect for runners and golfers too, or virtually any athlete,” promised Orchard. “In fact, I’ve heard word that Tiger Woods might begin using it when he recovers from his current injuries.”
The Pure Power Mouth guard Web site (www.ppmmouthguard.com, is the most direct resource for anyone interested in a purchase. But it’s not cheap - the standard model starts at $1,200, while the professional may run you around $2,000. Orchard urges anyone interested to check out the Web site, and stressed, “In the next six months, everyone will wonder about this product.”