How to Protect Your Teeth While Practicing Taekwondo
Taekwondo is a fun sport that teaches people how to defend themselves. However, it can be dangerous. Mouth injuries are one of the most common injuries that occur when practicing martial arts. Fortunately, there are ways that you can protect your teeth while doing taekwondo.
Wear a Mouthguard
One of the best ways that you can protect your teeth is to wear a mouthguard. Although you can purchase a mouthguard from the store, it is best to get one from your dentist. Your dentist will give you one that is custom-made for your mouth. Mouthguards not only protect your teeth, but they can also protect your jaw. According to AWMA, a mouthguard can reduce the impact of a blow to much of your face. Additionally, mouthguards can help you to save a lot of money on impact-related dental work. According to the American Dental Association, fighters who train without a mouthguard are 60 times more likely to suffer a tooth injury than those who train with one.
Guard Your Face
We don't focus on this as much in Taekwondo as boxers or kickboxers, but we really should. Many tooth injuries occur as the result of a direct blow to the side of the head. These direct blows can also cause whiplash or concussions in some situations, so it's to guard your face the entire time. Obviously we have to do that without exposing the rest of the body, so we recommend Grandmaster West's famous guard, which looks a bit like a variation on Rocky's stance.
The stance essentially works like this: the rear hand guards the face from the cheekbone down, with the elbow tucked tightly against the ribs; the forward arm elbow is glued to the waist above the belt on the side facing your opponent, with the forearm more-or-less horizontal to prevent attacks to the kidney/liver. If your opponent targets your front side (stomach or chest), you can easily defend by bringing the elbows together. If your opponent attacks the unguarded "blind side" of the head, you can avoid the attack with simple head movement.Thus you get a more-or-less total range of protection without having to move your arms very far to block.
Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth Properly
At this point you might be thinking "this would have been great information about ten minutes ago, but now--having failed to take these tips into account--it's time for damage control. Don't despair! You can take a bad hit and suffer a knocked out tooth. Fortunately, you can save your tooth if you take the proper care. According to South Temple Dental, you should always handle a knocked-out tooth by the crown. If you knock out a tooth, first rinse it off. Then, try to put the tooth back in its socket if possible. If you cannot put the tooth back in its socket, then you should put it in milk. Do not put the tooth in water because the root cells cannot tolerate water for long periods of time. Try to see an emergency dentist within 30 minutes.
People who practice taekwondo are at an increased risk of suffering a tooth injury. Taking the proper precautions can prevent injuries to the mouth. Wearing a mouthguard and protecting your face will help prevent a tooth injury. If you happen to suffer a knocked-out tooth, then it is important for you to handle it properly so that you can get the dental assistance you need.
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