Today, there are more choices than ever when it comes to buying a snoring mouthpiece. In fact, there are currently well over thirty mouthpieces to choose from. The recent introduction of the ZenGuard by ZenSleep has made the decision of choosing a mouthguard even more complex, as it has added to the growing list of anti-snoring mouthpieces that are available.
Perhaps the best way to narrow down the number of choices is to first decide between a Tongue Stabilizing Device (TSD), also known as a Tongue Retaining Device (TRD) and Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). One device works by holding the jaw forward to open the airway while the other holds the tongue forward, having the same effect.
When deciding between the two, the primary consideration should be your ability to breathe freely from your nose. Those with unobstructed nasal passages may choose either a TSD or MAD. If nasal breathing is not an option, an MAD may be a better choice because they are typically designed with an air hole which permits mouth breathing. Those with chronic sinus issues should only consider an MAD with a breather hole.
So which one works better – The MAD or TSD? The answer to this question is that they are both effective and for those who are able to use either, it mostly comes down to the features that each offer.
Over the past 4 years, I’ve tested nearly every mouthpiece available and have wrote about my experience with each. To help make the decision easier for my readers, I have created a table summarizing the mouthpieces that I have reviewed as well as my recommendation based on factors such as comfort, ease of use, cost, and credibility.
What Do We Know about the ZenSleep, the Company Behind ZenGuard?
In the evolution of TSD’s, first there was the aveoTSD then along came the Good Morning Snore Solution followed by the Pacifier and now we have the ZenGuard by ZenSleep.
When reviewing a product, I always begin by examining the company who produces and sells the product. It’s unclear exactly when ZenSleep, the company behind ZenGuard, formed. Their Facebook page does state that the company was founded in December of 2014, however, I was unable to verify this information. The company lists a contact phone number of (800) 278-0150 as well as email@example.com as the email address.
The identity and credentials of the person or persons associated with ZenSleep are unavailable on their website or through external sources online.
About the ZenGuard
The ZenGuard is one of several products offered by ZenSleep. The company also sells the ZenVents (Nose vents), ZenStrap (Chinstrap), ZenMask (Facemask), and ZenPlugs (EarPlugs). In addition, they offer an “all-in-one” kit which contains one of each mentioned item.
This device is considered a TSD because it attaches to the tip of the tongue and holds the tongue forward to prevent snoring.
Exactly How Does it Work?
When mentioning a TSD such as the ZenGuard, usually the first question that comes to mind is “How does it work?”
There is nothing revolutionary about the design of the ZenGuard. Similar TSD’s have been in existence for well over a decade now. TSD’s have been studied for years and according to this study recently published in the Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine, TSD’s are just as effective when it comes to treating mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) as MAD’s are. OSA and snoring are often closely related as many who snore also have OSA.
In order to better understand exactly how the ZenGuard work, it’s important to first know exactly why we snore.
What Causes Snoring?
In most cases, the sound of snoring originates from within the airway. As we age, our airway becomes less toned and loose. This issue is often more pronounced in people who are overweight as excessive neck fat can apply pressure against the airway. While asleep, the tongue falls into the back of the throat, the jaw relaxes and falls back causing the muscles surrounding the airway relax and loosen up. Now imagine what the inside of an airway that is loose and relaxed may look like? It becomes narrow and often times partially collapsed. As air rushes past a collapsed loose airway, loose tissues vibrate and collide with each other. The colliding tissue creates the familiar sound of snoring.
How The ZenGuard Prevents Snoring
Take a quick look at the anatomy of the human airway. It’s easy to see that the muscles surrounding the jaw and tongue connect to form a point in the Oropharynx area. This is the area that becomes narrow and is the site where the sound of snoring typically originates. Now, imagine if you were to pull and hold the tongue and the associated muscles around the airway forward. Doing so will tighten the tissue, open the airway and allow air to flow unobstructed. Unobstructed breathing = no snoring. TSD’s, such as the ZenGuard perform this task which in turn prevents snoring.
MAD’s, the TSD’s sister device, also performs the same task of pulling and holding this muscle group. These devices actually fit entirely inside of the mouth between the upper and lower teeth.
Description of the ZenGuard
The ZenGuard is a soft, silicone-like bulb device that you squeeze and place onto the end of your tongue. At the front end, “wings” protrude from both the upper and lower sides. These wings rest on the outside of the upper and lower lips and prevent the tongue and device from falling back into the mouth. Without this feature, this TSD would be useless as it would not hold the tongue forward and tighten the airway.
The opposing end of the bulb is open and is the entry point in which the tongue is inserted. There is a “V” notch cut into the bottom of the device to accommodate for the Frenulum which is the piece of skin between the bottom of the tongue and the floor of the mouth. When inserting the ZenGuard onto the tongue, it’s important to face this notch down.
The ZenGuard closely resembles another product that I have reviewed called the aveoTSD. It was developed by New Zealand orthodontist and sleep medicine expert, Dr. Chris Robertson. The aveoTSD is however a prescription only device that is available through your dentist or physician.
What Type of Material is It Made From and Is It BPA Free?
One important consideration to examine is the type of material a mouthpiece is made from. It’s important to understand what type of material you are putting into your mouth each night. Reputable manufacturers will construct their mouthguards from medical grade silicone, typically USP Class IV.
In addition to knowing the type of material, you should also know whether or not the device contains BPA, a synthetic compound that has been used in a variety of products from water bottles to can linings. While BPA’s are still being widely used today, the use of BPA’s remains controversial.
The following is posted on the product detail page on the companies website:
“Comfortable and easy to wear, this BPA free, soft medical grade silicone guard…”
How Much Does ZenGuard Cost?
When deciding on a snoring mouthpiece, an important consideration for many is the price. The ZenGuard sells for $99.00 USD with free US Shipping. It appear as if they only sell the ZenGuard in the United States.
In comparison to the other TSD’s that are available, the ZenGuard is competitively priced.
Is ZenGuard FDA Cleared?
TSD’s and MAD’s that are used for snoring are considered class II medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and technically speaking, require a prescription. Prior to bringing a product to market, the manufacturer must first file the appropriate paperwork with the FDA. The FDA must “clear” a product prior to being authorized for sale.
On the FDA website, you can search their database to see if a product is registered with the FDA. A quick search did not reveal any results for the terms ZenSleep or ZenGuard.
Money Back Guarantee?
ZenSleep mentions a “100% Results Guaranteed”, however they stop short of stating that they offer any money back.
This guarantee seems somewhat ambiguous so I looked into their refund policy and found that they do offer a refund or exchange within 90 days of purchase.
However, their return policy states the following:
“To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. It must also be in the original packaging.”
While the company advertises guaranteed results, their return policy does not allow you to return the mouthpiece if it’s used. This leaves one wondering exactly how they back their guarantee if desirable results are not achieved.
My Experience Testing out the ZenGuard
When the ZenGuard arrived, it appeared exactly as picture on the website. The material seemed durable yet soft and flexible. Overall, I found the Zenguard to be a well made, quality mouthpiece.
As with all other mouthpieces that I have tested, I tried the ZenGuard for a total of two weeks and documented the results each morning.
I’ll start by mentioning that if this if your first time using a TSD, you will likely notice that your tongue will be slightly sore in the morning and you may even drool while asleep. This is completely normal and should go away with time. I’ve been using both a TSD and MAD for several years now, so I no longer experience such issues when using an oral appliance.
During the testing period, I found the ZenGuard to be effective against my loudest snoring. It did in fact stop my snoring as advertised, but this comes as no surprise as I have found TSD’s to be effective in the past.
How Did The ZenGuard Compare to Other TSD’s?
How does the Zenguard Compare to other TSD’s? Over the years, I’ve tested three other TSD’s – aveoTSD, the Pacifier, and Good Morning Snore Solution. As for a comparison of these products to the ZenGuard, my observations are as follows:
ZenGuard vs. aveoTSD
The aveoTSD is a tongue stabilizing device that has been around for over a decade now. In fact, it’s believed that the aveoTSD was the first TSD to be brought to market. The aveoTSD is also a product that I have tested and had experienced satisfactory results. The ZenGuard is very similar to the aveoTSD but unlike the aveoTSD, ZenGuard can be purchased without a visiting a physician. The Zenguard can be purchased directly from the ZenSleep website without a prescription.
Aside from one being prescription based while the other isn’t, there are a still a few difference between the two. The aveoTSD was developed by a physician and has numerous scientific studies that cite this device. The Zenguard doesn’t appear to be developed by a physician and there’s no mention of it in any studies or publications. The ZenGuard does however sell for a fraction of the cost of the aveoTSD.
ZenGuard vs. The Pacifier
The Pacifier TSD was released in August 2015. While it’s priced significantly lower than any other mouthpiece, I found the design of the Pacifier to be inferior in comparison to the other available TSD’s. With the Pacifier, the flange is too small and flat. The lack of curvature made it difficult to keep in place throughout the night.
In comparison, I found the ZenGuard flange to be better designed which helps to keep it in place. The long body of the ZenGuard and the wings prevented it from falling out while asleep.
ZenGuard vs. Good Morning Snore Solution GMSS
The Good Morning Snore Solution is another TSD which I discovered several years ago. Since then, it has become one of two snoring mouthpieces that I use on a nightly basis ( SleepTight being the other). When my sinuses are clear, I typically go with the GMSS, otherwise, I choose the SleepTight due to the fact that it has an air hole which allows for mouth breathing.
When comparing the ZenGuard to the GMSS, I found the fit of the GMSS to be better as it has a large flange that wraps around the front of the teeth, providing a more secure fit. The material used in the GMSS appears to be thinner and the overall design is a bit more compact. In addition, there are several other reasons why I prefer the GMSS over the ZenGuard.
First, the GMSS was created and is marketed by Canadian physician duo Dr. Leslie Dort and Dr. Nancy Markley who conducted scientific research on the GMSS, clinically proving its effectiveness.
They operate Mpowrx Health & Wellness which is a registered business dating back to 2007. The company has been registered with the BBB since 2012 and has maintained an A+ rating since.
According to their website, their mouthpieces are made domestically in both the US and Canada and are cleared by regulatory agencies such as the FDA, ARTG, and EC. Being made domestic and cleared by regulatory agencies makes the GMSS less risky to use in comparison to a mouthpiece that has not.
The GMSS offers a 90 day satisfaction guarantee which is clearly stated on their return policy page.
“Our no-risk return policy means that you can order the device, test it out, and if you’re not fully satisfied, you can return the device for a full purchase price refund”
The GMSS sells for approximately the same price as the SnoreGuard but includes all of the mentioned benefits. In addition, GMSS is also sold worldwide.
After testing a product, I always offer my recommendation based on what I find.
The ZenGuard passed the functionality test as it works as advertised. If you are interested in a TSD that is similar in style to the aveoTSD, the ZenGuard may be a good choice.
If you have decided on a TSD and are trying to choose one, I personally would recommend the GMSS over the ZenGuard due to the reasons mentioned above.
- Made from quality material
- Works as advertised
- Competitively priced at $99
- Offered with free shipping
- BPA-free soft medical grade silicone
- No information on the company or credentials
- Not cleared by FDA or other regulatory agencies
- Return policy – “100% results guaranteed” unclear
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