Regardless of the art, most martial arts have one piece of equipment in common – the mouthguard.
Over the last twelve years I have trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Muay Thai and Karate. Despite the different philosophies, rule sets and training environments one thing was constant: there was always a significant risk of my teeth being knocked out.
No matter how skillful you are or how safe you train, when sparring is involved, there is a risk that an elbow, head, fist, knee or foot will strike your face with enough force to cause permanent damage. I have both seen and (un-intentionally) caused this to happen. It is because of this risk that I am religious with wearing my mouthguard.
Any mouthguard will do, however typically the custom fit – dentist made ones are best. Whilst there will be some cost (often not if you have private health cover), it will be worth paying if the guard helps you to avoid chipped or broken teeth. The pain, hassle and cost of fixing that problem is something that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
Once you have a mouthguard, it is important that you maintain it and keep it clean.
After each training session, make sure to rinse it in cold running water and shake it dry. To avoid build-up of grit on the guard, you can brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste once per week.
Make sure that you have an aerated storage container that is in a separate part of your bag to where your dirty training gear is stored for the trip home – you wouldn’t want any sweat dripping into the container and festering.
Remember, your mouth-guard is something that you are putting in your mouth on a daily basis. Proper maintenance will help to ensure that you stay healthy.
Zachary Phillips – Zimmah Muscle Therapy