Unfortunately, not all of us are gifted with average to perfect teeth, so it may be inevitable for some to undergo having to wear braces. Whether during childhood, adolescence, or in our adult years, wearing braces can be a nuisance. In such high-contact sports like boxing, it can spell trouble. So, you may be asking: can I actually do boxing with braces on?
Is it just not worth the risk in the end? Well, to put your mind at ease, the answer is ‘yes’. There are plenty of people who wear braces and still box. Even though you can, however, you are certainly placing yourself at a bit of a risk that those without braces don’t go through.
You must ensure that every level of caution is taken in order to prevent further damaging your mouth. Once you do, then nothing should stop you from boxing with your braces on.
When you decide to take up boxing whether as just a hobby or making it into a lifelong career, you understand that you will get hurt at some point. The mouth and jaw region are prime areas. There are a few potential, yet major, injuries you should be aware of:
- Fractures: A fracture is perhaps one of the most common injuries to occur in the mouth or any other part of the body. Fractures can include a broken or chipped tooth and injuries to the jaw.
- Abrasions & Lacerations: If the mouth is struck hard enough, the teeth may scratch or bite on the surrounding areas like the lips and cheeks. Brackets from the braces already can cause cuts inside the mouth, so trauma may add to it all.
- Dental Avulsion: Don’t be fooled by the word; it is just another way of saying you knocked out your tooth. In a dental avulsion, you don’t simply break the tooth, but trauma has caused it to become completely displaced from its socket. We can’t stress enough how damaging this particular injury can be while wearing braces.
Any type of hit to the mouth while wearing braces can leave behind a pile of damage. The wires can loosen or the brackets can actually break. Having braces in the first place can be a costly means of correcting your teeth, so if you have to return to your orthodontist due to a boxing-related injury, you are only adding up the expenses.
How to Stay Safe
Keeping your braces safe during boxing can actually be done through some simple means. In all honesty, these means don’t differ from those who don’t have braces and just want to avoid any major, lasting injuries.
The most go-to method of staying safe is using the proper protective gear. When you first step into that ring to get a feel of everything via sparring, it is important that you have already recognized the right gym equipment names to remain aware of what you need to do and what you need to wear to stay safe.
Arguably, the most vital means of protection is the athletic mouthguard. Now, you may be thinking that you can just go out and buy any mouthguard, maybe do a boil-and-set, stick it in your mouth, and carry on your way. In any other situation, that would be absolutely fine. However, as braces are the issue here, you need to be pickier about the guard you choose.
An orthodontic mouthguard is the safest avenue to go down when you are wearing braces. It is made of a higher grade of material when compared to regular guards. This material can also help better protect your lips from being pushed into the brackets on impact.
It should be simple enough for you to receive a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard from your orthodontist. If they know you are active in a contact sport like boxing, they may even make one for you after you get your braces put on in the first place.
If you don’t want to go the route of your own orthodontist, then you can purchase the right mouthguard from sports protection retailers.
Depending on your needs, you can get a guard that protects either just the upper teeth or both the upper and lower teeth. Looking for some sort of example of what a mouthguard on braces looks like? Then check out this video for a quick sample:
Another added benefit about mouthguards beyond the fact that they provide physical protection, they have a nice psychological aspect to them. When you have a fitted, proper mouthguard in place, it can boost your confidence. You know you’re safe with a guard in your mouth, and you know you can go in with a greater level of aggression to win a match.
Headgear may not be used in professional bouts, but it can work as a great buffer during sparring matches and even amateur fights. You should be aware that there are different types of headgear available.
In terms of braces, the right headgear will add another layer of protection on top of the mouthguard. This is why it is so important that you understand gym equipment names so that you actually get something that works for your needs.
Open Face. The open face headgear is the most common and widely available type around. It offers maximum visibility with a sufficient amount of protection. The biggest downside to using this type when you have braces though is that it completely leaves your face wide open. Although it is common, it may not be the best option if you want to keep your mouth safe.
Cheek Protection. This is a Mexican-styled headgear that has a greater level of protection compared to the standard open face. It will still leave your nose exposed, but as we are more concerned with the braces, much of your jaw and mouth will have some good padding on either side to keep you relatively safe.
Full Face. Also known as the face saver, these styles of headgear will provide you with the most protection compared to the other two. Some of these are made with a sort of bar that either goes across the nose or goes across the mouth. Others are made instead with a type of face cage. It is clear why these will help your braces as your opponent won’t be able to reach in to strike your mouth.
If you are seriously considering adding additional layers of protection for your braces, then the cheek protection and full face headgears may be the best options. Just take with you the knowledge that your vision will be obscured in some way with these ones. If you can work around that, then consider adding these headgears to your next training.
This may seem obvious, but it is true. Blocking is an excellent way to protect your braces. Of course, the best means is not getting hit in the first place, but sometimes you just can’t manage to get away so you must block the hit.
First, you have to develop a good defense. Make sure you have a proper boxing stance and work from there. Work on maintaining a high guard; keep your elbows tucked and your hands raised close to your face.
Your chin should be tucked as well. It’s one of the most vulnerable areas of your body, and a strike to the chin can shake your entire mouth, subsequently damaging your braces. Now, you won’t stay in the position of your chin down toward your chest all the time, but you should learn how to quickly get into that position when the time calls for it.
Remember: only tighten up yourself when a water punching bag is actually coming and you can’t dodge it. Otherwise, keep yourself loose so you don’t sacrifice your own speed and power.
A Few More Thoughts
Boxing with braces may not always seem like the simplest of tasks, but there are plenty of steps you need to take to keep yourself safe. Everyone is prone to dental injuries while boxing, but those with braces are at an unfortunate higher risk. Any type of impact can potentially cause a greater amount of pain and even hurt your wallet in terms of treatment. That is why you must be knowledgeable about the dangers and exercise the right caution and protection. Don’t allow your braces to hold you back from doing something you love. Know the proper gear, remember to wear it, and work on your blocking to protect yourself in the ring.