I’ve mentioned on several occasions the importance of wearing a mouth guard in jiu-jitsu. Of all the pieces of equipment, the mouth guard is one that people often take for granted, or worst of all forget to wear. This post is to help you better understand the benefits of a mouth guard and how to pick the right one out.
First and foremost, when you wear a mouth guard, you protect your teeth from impact. Those of us who refrain from incorporating strikes into our training routines may not feel that impact is a real risk, but it is. Accidents happen, and if you’re rolling with someone spazzy, they may happen more often than not. Impact is just part of what we do, and chances are if you are rolling hard, you get hit in the face on a regular basis.
While we are not supposed to exert ourselves to exhaustion while we roll, some athletic movements that we may use while grappling may cause us to clench our jaws. It’s a natural human reaction to exertion, and (not that we should be taking any cues from crossfit) it is one of the reasons that some crossfitters and weight lifters wear mouth guards. The ability to safely clench one’s teeth can be useful in physical exercise.
I’ve seen people even compete while not wearing mouth guards. This is downright dangerous. There are tons of ways to chip or lose teeth in jiu-jitsu. Couple that with jiu-jitsu competition being substantially and deliberately rougher, and you have a recipe for disaster. You should wear a mouth guard whenever you roll, and you should never compete without a mouth guard.
Hopefully if you weren’t already convinced, I’ve convinced you that you need a mouth guard.
Now what kind of mouth guard should you get?
There are tons of brands out there, and the reality is that it’s all about your own personal preference. You can spend 10 dollars on a cheap boil-and-bite mouth guard and it should just about do the trick, or you can spend upwards of 200 dollars on a custom with funky designs, fangs or whatever. It’s really up to you.
Boil-and-bite mouth guards are just as their name describes: you buy a mouth guard at the store, bring it home, boil a pot of water, immerse the mouth guard, and bite into it. The fit will likely be relatively sloppy, but it will be molded to your teeth. If I had a choice between no mouth guard and a boil-and-bite, I’d take the boil-and-bite simply to play it safe. These can range between about 10 dollars to 50$+ for the super fancy schmancy ones.
Custom mouth guards can either be done by a dentist via a dental lab, or can be done through the internet/post. In either scenario you are given a tray with some sort of paste or putty into which you bite. That is then submitted to a dental lab and the impression is used to make a perfect fitting mouth guard that seals tightly around your teeth. The biggest disadvantages to this are that it is quite expensive, and going back to boil-and-bites becomes a bit of a non option.
I don’t often promote my sponsors in my articles because the reality is that when I read other writers promoting their sponsors or companies they represent, my response is “well yeah, of course you think THEIR product is the best.” One company that I represent is Impact Mouth Guards, and the reason I initially accepted sponsorship from them is that they sell custom mouth guards for cheaper than anyone else I’ve seen online. For the jiu-jitsu option their prices start around 50 dollars with their discounts. If anyone out there knows of a brand that does a custom mouth guard for less than 50 dollars after shipping, please let me know!
If you are interested in investing in protecting your teeth, hit up Impact at www.impactmouthguards.com and use my discount code of EMILIMPACT to get 10 dollars off your order.