Wilton company sends mouth guard to the pros

The next time sports fans are watching a game, take a closer look. There just might be a piece of Wilton on the TV.

MoGo, a company based on Grumman Hill Road, has a roster of top athletes using its flavored mouth guards. Bruce Angus, CEO and co-founder of the company, said the company was started in 2011 and introduced its first mouth guard in August of that year. The guard is filled with natural flavor essences that don’t include sugar, calories or chemicals.

“We started our distribution to the Wilton area,” said Mr. Angus. “Soon we expanded around Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. In a little over six months we were being distributed across the country, and we branched into the international market with 15 different distributors.”

He said countries from Russia to South Africa and beyond are using the MoGo mouth guard.

The idea began in early 2010, when Mr. Angus said he saw technology that allowed flavor to be inserted into plastic. Originally from Canada, where the sport of hockey has a religious fervor, he knew about the taste and unsanitary ways of the traditional plastic mouth guard.

“Think about it,” he said. “What do most of us do the moment the whistle blows to stop the action? We pull our mouth guard out. Then we hang it out of our mouths or we chew it. Some of us will jam it into our helmets. Others will stuff it down their gloves.”

He said athletes tried different ways to insert some flavor into their mouth guards, such as stuffing gum inside or boiling it in a flavored juice.

His belief, which seems to be backed up by the success of the product, is that now athletes don’t mind using a mouth guard.

“It enhances the user experience,” he said. “It takes it from need to wear to want to wear it.”

While plenty of average athletes are using the MoGo mouth guard, the company has picked up some heavy hitters in professional sports.

Colin Kaepernick is the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers who led his team to a spot in the most recent Super Bowl. The product of the University of Nevada was one of the first pros to embrace the MoGo mouth guard.

“We reached out to him,” Mr. Angus said. “We were looking to elevate our profile by partnering with some professional athletes. He signed on with us before he became the starter with the 49ers. Then he became a sensation, and the Niners went to the Super Bowl. That helped get us quite a bit of publicity.”

Evgeni Malkin, a sensational center for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, also wears the mouth guard. The 27-year-old Russian helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 2009, and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, signifying the most valuable player in the playoffs. He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in 2011-12.

Also using the mouth guard is Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. The basketball star burst on the scene out of Davidson College, where he led the nation in scoring. He has blossomed into one of the top point guards in the National Basketball Association.

“As a professional athlete and father, I can appreciate a company like MoGo that is trying to make protective sports gear more enjoyable to wear,” he said. “One of the things I stress at events like my basketball camp is the importance of protecting yourself on the court. Regular mouth guards were always uncomfortable and rubber-tasting, but MoGo tastes great and keeps my mouth from getting dry.”

Never to be forgotten, Mr. Angus said, is that while the mouth guards have a good flavor, it’s still about player protection and safety.

“We’re ultimately a protective equipment company,” he said.

While professional stars can get a new mouth guard for every game, the local athlete and weekend warrior isn’t going to necessarily want to spend $11.99 per game for a mouth guard. Mr. Angus said the flavor will last as long as the plastic maintains its integrity.

“Generally,” he added, “the mouth guards might need to be changed once a season.”

They are available in a variety of flavors and may be found on the company’s website, mogosport.com. The colors correspond with the flavors of blue raspberry, fruit punch, lemon, mint, orange, and bubblegum. Additionally, they can be clear or black around the perimeter of the guard. The company does offer free shipping on orders of four or more guards.

A second flavored mouth guard has been designed to fit over braces. It is available in fruit punch, orange and bubblegum. It sells for $18.99.

While Mr. Angus may be from Canada, he has made Connecticut his home. He went to Duke University before moving around Asia. Once he returned to the United States with his wife, they decided to move to Weston.

“My wife is from the New York area, so this made sense,” he said. “We love it here.”

With player safety at the top of everyone’s minds, mouth guards have become necessary in many sports.

“It comes back to the amount of focus on head trauma,” he said. “Mouth guards are a required piece of equipment. We’re starting to see it more in college basketball and the NBA.”

Certainly, mouth guards have long been seen in football, ice hockey, rugby, lacrosse, soccer, boxing, martial arts, and other sports. At the same time, Mr. Angus sees where his product is not only important but a conversation piece.

“It’s a fun product,” he said.

With the pro athletes already on board, and more to come, he said, the future is bright.

“The next few years will be really exciting for us,” he added.