"Homo homini lupus est", "a man is a wolf to another man." Plautus (-254; -184)
If we acknowledge that the human being is the greatest predator on the food chain, then we must also be wary of the human in the boxing ring: in a boxing fight, determination and strength make the opponent a formidable enemy.
In combat sports, a plethora of movement and attack is allowed.
In French savate boxing, English boxing, Thai boxing, and full contact American boxing, as well as kung fu, the shots are carried to the torso, sometimes to the legs (for French savate boxing), and to the face.
To limit the impact of the punches and the kicks of the opponent, boxing therefore requires good equipment for protection: shin guards, boxing helmet, boxing gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, anklets, cups and chest protector... and finally... a mouthguard.
Of all contact sports, boxing is known to be a violent sport where competitors have only one goal: to hit hard in order to win by knockout (KO).
This ideology may be true, but shamefully reductive.
Because in actuality, the boxer's equipment serves to protect each of the practitioners while deploying each of their individual combat techniques (tricks, dodges, attacks, footwork, forehands, uppercuts, etc.).
In this article, Superprof has honed in on research on the intraoral protection of the boxer: why wear a mouthguard, where to get it and at what price?
What is a Boxing Mouthguard?
As its name suggests, a mouthguard serves to protect the mouth.
The mouthguard is a piece of molded synthetic material that is inserted into the mouth to protect the mucous membrane, tongue, teeth and mandibles.
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Wearing one helps to avoid painful dental wounds and expensive orthodontic care, especially at a time when dentistry, poorly reimbursed, is considered to be a comfort medicine ...
To those who read this article: know that the boxing mouthguard is mandatory on the mat, in a dojo or in a boxing gym, and during taekwondo competitions, ice hockey and American football.
It is recommended for all martial arts and mixed martial arts (MMA) - karate, jiu-jitsu, aikido, krav maga, vovinam, kickboxing, free fight, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
It is also used in many other collective sports (basketball, handball, volleyball, rugby, football, cycling, wrestling) and employed anywhere there is a risk of head shots by the elbows, knees, fists, or feet.
It applies to both competitors and boxing practitioners.
It's even one of the most useful boxing accessories. Indeed, it is recommended to the amateur boxing beginner to wear because at the amateur level, shots are less controlled.
An uninitiated boxer will be less accustomed to dodging shots and will therefore be more subject to trauma of the dentition.
Wearing the mouthguard reduces the risk of suffering any trauma resulting from a violent blow: fracture, tooth movement, loosening, expulsion, etc.
The impact of a punch to the jaw can cause serious skin lesions as well as painful bites to the tongue.
But the mouthguard acts to cushion the power of the blow received.
Thus, being protected by a mouthguard has a fivefold advantage:
- It prevents shock between the teeth of the lower jaw and the upper jaw.
- It avoids lacerations on the lips.
- It prevents you from puncturing the tongue.
- It reduces the risk of fractures.
- It limits the risk of concussion.
Now that we know what it's used for, we also have to know how to choose one, because there are several options available.
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Which Boxing Mouthguard Should You Chose?
A mouthguard is a piece of molded synthetic material that is designed to take the shape of the jaw, so that it is comfortable while providing optimal protection.
There are many forms, designed for football, ice hockey, boxing or martial arts. As far as we are concerned, we have identified three types of mouthguards: standard, semi-adaptable, and tailor-made.
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There are also single mouthguards, and doubles. One protects only the upper part of the jaw, and facilitates breathing while the other covers the entire dentition and further provides optimal protection.
The Standard Mouthguard
Standard protection does not apply to everyone, as the name suggests. It is found in sports shops, its price is economic but does not offer optimal protection.
It will have to be kept in place by squeezing the teeth shut. Though an athlete can't be expected to and shouldn't contract their jaw in a constant way, especially during the impact of an uppercut ...
Moreover, since it covers the entire jaw, it can violate a good breath. You will have to pay the price for more comfort.
The Semi-Adaptable Mouthguard
Semi-adaptable, or simple, this mouthguard is industrial, and can be modeled to the boxer's liking. How?
By soaking it in boiling water, the utensil softens. Dip it in cold water for two or three seconds, then put it in the mouth to take the shape of the dentition.
Under the pressure of the tongue, fingers, and by closing the mouth, the tool should take shape.
The Tailor-Made Mouthguard
Performed by your dentist, this type of guard offers protection, stability, retention and comfort. By a complete molding of the jaw, the oral protection is personalised, and adapted to the shape of the teeth of the boxer.
It is the most expensive of the protections, but it is also the one that will be the most comfortable and the best fit to the jaw.
For people who have a dental implant, it is even more important that the mouthguard fits snugly, as a punch can unscrew the dental rings and damage the soft tissues.
As a result, the risk of injury to the person wearing an orthodontic appliance is higher if the mouthguard is poorly chosen.
How to Mold a Boxing Mouthguard and Maintain It
At the risk of repetition: although the boxer is equipped with boxing gloves to prevent injuries and cuts, a blow launched at full strength to the gums can do colossal damage.
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As a result, it is fundamental that the mouthguard perfectly matches the morphology of the jaw.
We of course recommend that budding boxers choose a tailor-made mouthguard, or at least a semi-adaptable one.
In order to adjust it to the teeth, it is important to mold the accessory: it is a rigid plastic that becomes more and more flexible under the effect of heat.
Dip the mouthguard in boiling water for ten to fifteen seconds, then immerse in cold water to avoid getting burned.
Put it in the mouth and bite it while inhaling to circulate the air between the teeth. If the operation goes well, no feeling of discomfort should be felt.
It is recommended to rinse several times your mouthguard, one can even brush it with mild soap or toothpaste and a toothbrush from time to time to clean it.
This maintenance allows a good durability of the oral protection, which can go up to several years. It is therefore a wise investment because the price is low compared to the potential care needed in its absence.
Where Can You Buy a Mouthguard?
Your new boxing gear and boxing protective gear - boxing gloves, under gloves, mittens, boxing shoes, boxing shorts, etc. - will probably be available for purchase in your boxing club.
It will even be mandatory for hand-to-hand training.
Otherwise, many providers market different brands and ranges (single, double, custom, semi-adaptable, etc.) on the internet or in stores:
- Decathlon and the brand Domyos,
- Hadjime.com, brands Metal Boxing, Venum, Shock Doctor,
- Athleteshop.co.uk, brands Everlast, Adidas,
- Sportscombat.co.uk, brands Everlast, Adidas, Venum,
- Matos2boxe.fr, RD Boxing brands, Shock Doctor, Opro,
- Dragonsports.eu, brands Adidas, Kwon, Shock Doctor, Venum,
- Lecoinduring.com, brands Everlast, Venum, Shock Doctor,
- Dragonbleu.fr, brands Venum and Shock Doctor.
Price-wise, they are not excessive.
The entry-level is found in the brand Domyos at Decathlon, which offers products that are unbeatable in price, but which will probably prove unsustainable for a double mouthguard at adult size.
The mid-range brand remains Metal Boxe.
Finally, for a high-end dental protection, opt for the brands Shock Doctor and Venum.
Here is a small summary of the range of fees charged on the internet:
|Vendor||Brand||Type of Mouthguard||Price|
|Boxfit UK||Opro, Adidas, Nike, Safejawz||Single, Double, Semi-Adaptable, Custom||£5.50 - £70|
|Athletesshop.co.uk||Adidas, Everlast, Lonsdale, Mueller||Single, Double, Semi-Adaptable||£2 - £25|
|Dragonsport.eu||Metal Boxe, Adidas, Shock Doctor, Venum||Single, Double||£5 - £60|
|Geezers||Geezers||Custom||£55 - £60|
Last tip: it is possible to choose the colour (pink, blue, gray, black, white, green, etc.) but note that in boxing, red is prohibited.
As well as protective equipment, you need to consider your dress code such as the types of boxing shorts you should wear.