Not everyone is lucky enough to have a perfect set of teeth. So, to line up the teeth, people often wear braces. But it can become cumbersome to take care of when boxing or practicing any other martial arts form where the opponent aims at hitting your face, particularly chin and cheeks. But that doesn’t mean you need to end your boxing career! No, not at all. So, here we are all lined up to tell you about sparring with braces- do’s and don’ts and tips and tricks to eye on!
There are various boxers with braces and even UFC fighters who wear braces. Let it be Jordan Espinosa or Frank Shamrock; both used to wear braces since the time they actually started to practice boxing and sparring.
Therefore, if you wear braces, there is nothing to step back or get stressed about. Just continue to scroll till the end, and you will become well abreast with all about sparring with braces.
So, without blinking one more time, let’s break down the details!
What are the possible risks of boxing with braces?
With several available methods to get your teeth aligned, most people prefer to wear braces so that they can end up having a beautiful smile and a boosted confidence to wear.
But, fighting with braces has some major disadvantages when you wear them while practicing intense, aggressive sports like martial arts. A few problems that are frequently encountered when wearing braces during sparring are:
- Most opponents aim to hit your face, specifically the chin, cheeks, and jaws.
- Moreover, there are chances that when the opponent hits your jaws, the stick of teeth will slip and, as a result, cut or puncture your gums and the oral cavity.
- Additionally, there are high chances that the strip or the metal piece will become trapped or fixed in between the teeth or gums. As a result, it will puncture your pulp, causing unbearable pain.
- Apart from the risks mentioned earlier, an extremely strong kick can also easily break your teeth. But why? The reason lies in the fact that by wearing braces, you actually stop the natural growth of teeth due to which they become weaker than the original ones. So, a fracture or a chipped tooth can easily result.
- Last but not least, dental avulsion can occur. In this, your teeth are completely displaced from their original position.
These were the possible risks of wearing braces while sparring. But that isn’t much of our concern. Our focus is all about tips and tricks to opt for when sparring with braces. So, let’s discuss them.
How to keep both the teeth and braces safe during sparring with braces- A safety guide to follow!
Keeping your teeth safe while sparring with braces requires nothing much than those which the boxers without braces do. All you need to do is to wear proper protective gear. That is why experts recommend doing sparring in a proper gym so that you can become aware of how to use the different safety gears correctly.
The safety tips that the boxers are usually told to follow are:
- Wearing a correct mouth guard
- Wearing the right headgear
- Using the correct blocking methods
So, let’s dive into the details of them separately.
Wearing a correct mouth guard
A tooth or mouthguard is one of the most essential items that boxers and athletes wear. A random fighter can go out and buy any of the available mouth guards as per his personal preference. But that isn’t the case when you have braces on. If you are keen on your teeth and braces and want them to be safe, you definitely need to be much pickier and choosier. So, the details of available mouth guards, and which one to choose are:
Boil and bite mouth guards
The first type of mouthguard is a simple boil and bite mouthguard. It is undoubtedly the cheapest option to go for in order to protect your braces. However, it isn’t the best option to choose as most of the mouthguards aren’t suitable to work with braces. So, you need to be very careful while selecting a boil and bite mouthguard.
A custom mouth guard for boxing with braces on
The second type of mouth guard that you can go for is the custom one which comes with a proper kit.
However, just like boil and bite mouth guards, these custom kit mouthguards aren’t a too good option for the following reasons:
- It is too costly.
- It takes a couple of weeks to fit them correctly.
- They are less protective which indirectly means your braces and teeth are at risk of damage.
Orthodontist mouth guard
Where boil and bite mouth guards and custom mouth guards both are an average option to select, these orthodontist mouth guards are probably the ones that will give the most protection to your teeth and braces. It is simply the best and the safest avenue to go down when sparring with braces. These mouth guards are made of high-grade material and protect your lips too from getting pushed into the brackets.
Can you wear a mouth guard with braces?
Yes, you can, and in fact, you should wear mouthguards with braces as it significantly reduces the chances of the mouth getting punched with braces on.
Wearing a right headgear
After getting a good boxing mouthpiece for braces, the next tip and a must-do thing are to buy the proper headgear. Although you can’t use headgear in professional bouts when sparring with braces or even in amateur fights, these headgears are a piece of good protective equipment. It is simply an additional protective layer on your mouthguard.
We use the following three types of headgears most frequently:
Open face headgear
The most commonly used headgear is open face headgear. The best part about these headgears is that they don’t hinder your visibility and yet offer a reasonable amount of protection too. But, if you leave your mouth area open and not shielded, it can pose a higher risk of getting hurt at the chin or mouth.
Cheek protection headgear
The next type of headgear is cheek protection headgear. It offers a comparatively greater degree of protection to your jaws, cheeks, and chin. They have proper padding on the inner side to protect your braces. Therefore, wearing them to protect your braces is a good option. However, your nose is not covered in this type of headgear. But since our area of concern is mainly the jaws, you can go for this option.
Face saver headgear
The third and last headgear that we include in the list of sparring with braces- do’s and don’ts is a full face headgear or a face-saver headgear. It offers maximum protection by providing full coverage to the face, either in the form of a bar arrangement or a full cage look. So, it doesn’t give the opponent any way out to reach your face. As a result, your braces won’t get damaged at all.
Blocking and proper defense
Last but not least comes blocking. Yes, blocking offers the best protection to your braces. Firstly try not to get hit. So sometimes, you can’t stop the hit. In that case, try to block the hit. For this, you need to have a proper boxing stance and a sound defense system. Try to maintain a high guard. You should know how to tuck the chin in quickly and protect other vulnerable areas of the body too.
So, these are a few safety tips to look at when sparring with braces. Moreover, it is strictly told don’t fight with braces if you aren’t wearing any of the above-mentioned safety equipment.
What mouth guards do boxers wear when sparring with braces?
An often asked query is what mouth guards UFC fighters use and what mouthguards do boxers wear.
A boxer usually wears a mouth guard that offers complete protection and has a hard shock-absorbing outer layer and a soft inner padded layer. The most commonly used mouth guards by boxers for fighting with braces on are:
- Nxtrend Rush mouth guard
- OPRO Power-Fit mouth guard
- Shock doctor gel max mouth guard
Why do boxers wear mouth guards for sparring with braces?
Now that you are well up with all about sparring with braces, let’s see why boxers wear mouth guards.
A boxer often wears a mouth guard, whether he is wearing braces or not. But why? The reason lies in the numerous benefits it offers. A few are:
- It protects the teeth from severe damage or from getting displaced permanently.
- It might sound a bit weird, but scientists have proved that our jaws have direct link with the brain. So if a boxer gets a strong punch or kick on jaws, he will experience blurry vision. So, boxers wear mouth guards to protect their heads.
- It induces mild hypoxia in boxers which is beneficial for them.
- Research has also shown that when a person feels safe, he works more efficiently. So, when a boxer wears a mouth guard, it has a good effect on his mental health, making him feel safe.
Sparring with braces- the fundamental fighting stance to follow
If you have braces, then you need to learn and follow the basic stance, which is quite helpful in protecting your face and especially your jaws from getting injured. So, a boxer with braces should focus on:
- Pad work
- How to get in the position of tucking the chin in within no time
- Develop a good footwork
- Practice sparring as much as possible as one on one fights make you well prepared for real situations
- Wearing all the safety equipment
Conclusion- The Final Verdict
If you wear braces and want to do boxing with braces, it is not a big deal. A lot of our great boxers also wear braces, so you can also do sparring and boxing with braces on. The only thing you need to be careful about is to follow all the things we discussed related to sparring with braces in this article. After that, you aren’t going to face any problems.
So, just follow these rules, and continue the practice!
Chris Bent is a professional MMA Trainer who has expertise in both Martial Arts and Karate and he loves to teach Men, Women and Kids.