Protecting Your Teeth in Contact Sports

Posted on: 30 November 2016

Protecting your teeth whilst taking part in martial arts training is hugely important if you want to minimise the risk of damaging or breaking the enamel. Whilst this may seem like only superficial damage, it can actually lead to more complex issues such as infections in the gums which can in some cases, lead to infections in other parts of the body. One of the easiest ways to stop this is to buy an orthodontist-approved mouthguard.

Should I Use It for All Contact Sports?

A mouthguard should be used for all contact sports where there is a risk of impact and injury to the head, spine and the rest of the upper body. Even if you aren't planning on getting hit in the head, like in boxing or Muay Thai, sports like jiu-jitsu still pose a risk from accidental knocks and teeth grinding under stress. 

What Should I Buy?

If you can afford a better mouthguard, then go for it. Think of it like cheap dental insurance, if the Australian Dental Association (ADA) approves it, then you know you're getting a product that has been rigorously tested and will protect you well. The ADA recommends custom fit mouthguards as they have a superior fit to the boil and bite ones. These guards are created by dentists who take a mould of your teeth and then create a product that fits comfortably in your mouth without restricting your ability to breath, and minimising the risk of it falling out when you speak. These are clearly more expensive; however, if you take your sport seriously and train on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to consider it.

What If I'm on a Budget?

If you're beginning a sport for the first time, don't have much money or just want a cheap spare mouthguard, then a boil and bite is an okay choice. These require you to drop them into freshly boiled water for a short period of time before cooling them slightly under cold water and fitting them. The guards themselves have heat sensitive putty that moulds itself to the shape of you teeth as a sort of DIY custom fit home solution. They can provide a reasonable amount of protection but are more likely to restrict your breathing and fall out. However, they are certainly better than nothing and are the minimum amount of protection that must be used in ADA-approved and sponsored sports, as they now require all participants to wear mouth protection.


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