Some of us are lucky enough to have a nice set of teeth, while others need to spend more on dental work. You can be a child, teen, or fully grown adult, but braces can affect your life in several ways before they are removed.
For instance, you may be wondering if you can play contact sports, like boxing, with braces on your teeth.
Braces do make certain boxing injuries more likely, but there are still plenty of boxers who have sparred with braces on. You can box with braces, but there are extra safety precautions that you should take beforehand.
Whether fighting is your hobby or you plan on becoming a professional boxer, you must understand getting hurt is part of the sport. In boxing, the mouth and jaw are exposed areas that are likely to get hit. Some possible injuries include:
Fractures are generally the most common injuries that can occur in boxing. These can happen to any other body part, including the mouth area. These can look like chipped teeth or jaw injuries.
Lacerations Or Abrasions
Abrasions occur when a layer of skin has been scraped off. Lacerations are deeper cuts or skin tears. If the mouth is hit hard, the lips and cheeks can come into contact with the teeth, causing them to bite or scratch against these adjacent areas.
If you have braces, the brackets may also cut the inside of your mouth, adding to the initial injury.
There’s a likelihood of dental issues occurring within boxing, as many amateur boxers have knocked out their teeth in the past. Dental avulsion happens when the tooth isn’t chipped, but has separated from the socket. This injury can become even worse if you wear braces.
Braces can make mouth injuries worse than the initial hit would cause. The metal brackets and wires can become loose or break during difficult training. Dental work is already expensive, so having to visit your dentist to replace your braces can add to the cost.
The potential injuries sound horrible, but if you are determined to continue with boxing, there are simple ways to keep you and your braces safe. These methods are normal safety procedures that all boxers should be doing in the first place.
The most important step to staying safe is to wear the correct safety gear. You should have your equipment on you before you even think about sparring with others. Here are the parts you need to purchase before boxing.
A mouthguard is the most important piece of safety equipment that you’ll need, especially if you have braces. Most people can generally get away with buying any mouthguard.
However, brace wearers need to be selective about their mouthguard, as the wrong one could be less safe to wear.
Orthodontic mouthguards are the safest guards for brace wearers. Unlike other guards, these are made from better quality materials that can withstand impact better. This helps to prevent your lips from contacting the brackets if hit in the mouth area.
Your orthodontist should be able to make a custom orthodontic mouthguard for you. If you tell your original orthodontist that you plan on boxing, they’ll probably suggest creating one for you soon after your braces are fitted.
As these are custom-made, they’ll most likely cost more than regular guards on the market.
If you don’t want to get an orthodontic mouthguard made for you, some sports retailers offer specialized mouthguards which you can purchase. Some of these mouthguards are designed to solely protect the upper teeth or both sets.
You’ll need to examine your braces and decide which guard you’ll need.
Other than physical safety, a suitable mouthguard also has a mental benefit. Just knowing that you have the correct mouthguard can make you more confident, as you know that you’ll be protected throughout sparring. Being confident of your safety can make you a better boxer.
You’ll be prepared to fight harder to win your next round.
Headgear isn’t used in professional matches, but they are an important tool to use in sparring and some beginner fights. On brace wearers, headgear acts as a protective layer over your mouthguard.
Boxing headgear comes in three main types. You should understand what these types of headgear are so that you select the right one for you.
Open face gear is the most common type of headgear. It’s readily available, providing good protection without sacrificing visibility. These may be sufficient for other boxers, but brace wearers should avoid them.
Open face gear doesn’t conceal your face, leaving the mouth area at risk of impact. Overall, these aren’t the best headgear options as they don’t protect your mouth well.
As the name suggests, this type of headgear provides adequate protection to the cheek and jaw area. It won’t cover your nose, but if you’re solely trying to protect your braces, these are a good option.
Cheek protection headgear will have sufficient padding on both sides, preventing hits from affecting the mouth.
Face Saver/Full Face
Unlike the previous options, full face headgear will give you higher levels of protection. These vary in design; some have a cage that partially conceals the face, others have a bar that crosses the nose or mouth.
Full face gear prevents opponents from hitting your mouth, but they may not be the most practical option.
Protective headgear can be a good way of shielding your braces from damage. If you do want to go down this route, choose between cheek protection options or full-face ones.
Remember that these will affect your vision when you wear them. If this doesn’t bother you, then feel free to wear these at your training sessions.
Protective wear is important, but an even simpler way to avoid damaging your braces is through blocking. You can try to dodge hits as much as you can, but strikes are part of the sport. There are instances where you won’t be able to avoid the opponent’s hit, so you’ll have to block it.
If you work on your blocking skills, you can stop any force from striking the mouth area.
To do this, you have to work on your overall defense. Your boxing stance should be perfect before you go on. Practice keeping your guard up, ensuring that your hands are up by your face and that your elbows aren’t flared out.
Your chin is a susceptible area, so make sure that you keep it tucked in. If your chin is hit, the strike can injure your whole mouth, affecting your braces as a result. You don’t need to keep your chin tucked for the duration of your session, but you should be able to snap into that pose when needed.
Yes, you can box with braces, but you must make sure that you have the right safety equipment first. Braces are already costly, so replacing them can be hard on your wallet. A well-fitted mouth guard is essential, but you can also purchase padded headgear to wear in training sessions.
Most boxers work on their blocking skills already, but blocking can be a simple way of shielding your braces. Getting hit is part of the sport, but the advice above should help you avoid mouth injuries.
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