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#1 Mouth Guard

March 26, 2009

Mouth_Guard_Image1

“I’ll bet the hardest thing about prize fightin’

is pickin’ up yer teeth with  a boxin’ glove on”

–  Kin Hubbard

Hubbard has the right idea. It’s hard to pick up all your teeth with a sparring glove on and even worse when you’re reeling from the blow that evicted them in the first place.  Not only is having your teeth knocked out painful it’s also pointless and unnecessary.

What can you use to protect your teeth? One option is a faceplate, another is wearing a mouth guard.

What is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is very similar to a cookie cut in half. When you bite into the cookie, your teeth leave deep impressions. If you took the cookie out of your mouth and then bit the same place, your teeth would fit into the perfectly sized dents of your previous bite. Biting into a nice crispy apple (yummers) will demonstrate this too.

The big difference between a cookie and a mouth guard is that mouth guards are specifically designed to protect your teeth whereas cookies just taste good – not that I don’t like cookies, I do! But they aren’t any good in a fight.

What Do I Need To Do Before I Can Use My Mouth Guard?

Fill a pot with at least 2-3 inches of water and warm it up until it’s very hot. It should be steaming but not broiling.

When the water is hot, unwrap your mouth guard and lower it into the hot water.  There are two ways you can do this:

  1. For mouth guards with ties, hold the tie while you lower the mouth guard  into the water. Don’t let go until you’ve taken it out again!
  2. For mouth guards without ties, put the mouth guard in a spoon and lower it into the water. Be careful not to splash, the water should be hot enough to hurt and you could be burned.
  3. Make sure that the mouth guard is  fully submerged and hold it under the water for around 7-15 seconds. If it’s not fully submerged, the molding stage won’t work so be sure to do this.
  4. After the 7-15 seconds are over, take the mouth guard out of the water and hold it in your hand  (don’t worry, it won’t stick to your hand or hurt.) Put in into your mouth and once it fits into your jaw, clench your teeth hard and hold them there for 10-20 seconds.
  5. Last step. Take your mouth guard out of your mouth and rinse it off with cool water. Dry it off, wrap it in a piece of cloth or tissue and put it into its holder.

Always rinse off your mouth guard after use. Be sure your mouth guard is dry when you put it away and wrap it in a dry cloth or paper towel to be double sure that it won’t get moldy.

What Mouth Guard Would You Recommend?

I’ve researched a bunch of them today and I found a few that I would use myself . They have all the attributes that a mouth guard guard should have and don’t shred your lips or gums, choke you, or anything else harmful.

The mouth guard that got the best ratings everywhere is the Shock Doctor.

Positives

• It doesn’t shred your lips or gum like many mouth guards do.

• It provides teeth protection and support.

• It doesn’t flake or fall apart.

Negatives

• A few people had  had minor complaints about there not being enough support for the lower jaw but the majority of people didn’t mind and I personally don’t think it’s a big problem compared to all the positives.

What not to do with a mouth guard?

  1. Do not chew on your mouth guard. There isn’t any mouth guard on the market that can endure endless chewing and not flake eventually.
  2. Keep your mouth closed on your mouth guard while fighting. Don’t let your  mouth hang open while fighting. It removes all benefits of the mouth guard and produces a risk of having the mouth guard crammed down your throat by a kick or punch and causing  a choking hazzard. Keep your mouth closed when wearing your mouth guard and just take it out for a second whenever you need to speak.

Conclusion

It’s very important to protect your face during sparring. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re tough enough “suck it up” because facial injuries tend to put people out of training for a while and we martial artists hate to stop training.

If you don’t like wearing mouth guards (I don’t), check out a faceplate. They work great and add a little more comfort.

Above all, be safe-not cool, and smart. You’ll be the champ at the end of the day and you won’t even be injured.

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