A quality mouthguard is a simple but effective piece of equipment when taking part in taekwondo sparring. A quality mouthguard is often overlooked in its importance for providing protection for the teeth, neck, and jaw of sparring participants. According to Dr. Brent Bell, “Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports, such as boxing.” This same recommendation applies to martial arts training.
Despite other safety measures like the use of large, padded gloves and sparring with less intensity during practice, no taekwondo sparring session should take place without a mouthguard. Here are a few facts about mouthguards that you should understand before sparring in taekwondo
Boil and Bite
These are the most common types of mouthguards used across all contact sports, and they have been for a few decades. These mouthguards are constructed from a special type of plastic that becomes soft when placed in hot water. The mouthguard can then be made to fit the form of the mouth before solidifying to provide protection for the mouth and teeth.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards are an inexpensive option, but a little skill is needed on the part of the user to assure a proper fit. Proper adherence to the instructions provided by the manufacturer will result in a mouthguard that provides adequate protection.
For the most part, custom-fitted mouthguards provide a better fit and protection than the more common boil-and-bite variety. A mold of the teeth must be made that is then sent to a specialist who designs the mouthguard.
Individuals can either make a visit to a dentist or make use of a home kit to create the needed impressions. Either way, the mouthguard that returns from the manufacturer will fit the exact dimensions of the individual's mouth.
Considerations for Those With Braces
Individuals with braces may experience an added set of challenges when in search of the best mouthguard for taekwondo sparring. When brace brackets are adjusted by a dentist, the position of the teeth is change, so any mouthguard that has been previously fitted to the individual will no longer fit.
I like the Shock Doctor Double Braces Strapless that you can get at Walmart for a relatively affordable price. The Instafit design of this mouthguard comes complete with a special ortho channel that fits around brace brackets and allow the mouthguard to adapt to any changes in teeth positions. The mouthguard is perfect for providing an instant fit and guarding against lacerations.
Taekwondo is a wonderful sport for children and individuals to practice. Sparring is an important part of this training and the safety of participants should never be left to chance. The careful selection of the proper mouthguard will go along way towards assuring that taekwondo sparring sessions are both productive and safe for all involved.