Contact sports are fun! Well, until someone gets hurt, they are. Luckily, in grappling martial arts there are fewer injuries to the face compared to striking sports. Ok, you do get the odd knee or elbow to the face when rolling in BJJ, but not on a regular basis. It’s not that grappling is safer than striking, because it has its fair share of joint injuries. it’s just easier on the face, which is the most presentable part for most of us. There’s one instance though, where JIu-Jitsu can almost match striking arts in terms of injury rate. It’s the mouth. Despite the very simple option of wearing a BJJ mouthguard, most people choose not to. Dentists rejoice!
A BJJ mouthguard should be a mandatory piece of any grappler’s equipment. It is as easy as that. granted, you won’t get hit as much in the mouth, but you’re going to get jaw pressure, people grinding your mouth and all sorts of pain-inducing moves when you roll. So why not just wear a BJJ mouthguard? It won’t make you less of a “man” if you do, it’ll just keep you safe. Let’s explore some of the obvious reasons why you should wear one and look at some options available out there.
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Why Wear A BJJ Mouthguard?
The most important reason why you need a mouthguard is very simple – protection. The idea is to minimize the risk of getting an injury to any of the fine structures of the mouth. A BJJ mouthguard is not just a regular mouthpiece. It is a specially designed piece of protective gear aimed to provide maximum protection in grappling-specific circumstances. The alternative is spending quite a lot of money on dental work, not to mention all the pain and discomfort.
The most obvious sufferers of traumatic mouth injuries are the teeth. Although they might seem like resistant little critters, they’re actually really prone to injury. When rolling during Jiu-Jitsu training, you can crack, loosen, or even break a tooth. Cracks are the easiest to get since it doesn’t take much force. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be an elbow or a knee from your partner. It can be you hitting the floor, wall or even a stray heel from the people rolling next to you. The resulting cracks might seem like nothing to worry about but nothing could be further from the truth! A cracked tooth is a doorway for infections that can have dire consequences.
Injuries to the bones of the jaw area another major concern. While jaw injuries are way more prevalent in MMA, they do occur in grappling as well. Unlike MMA, in BJJ they’re the result of pressure and can be far more devastating. A BJJ mouthguard can go a long way to protect the jaw by reducing the space which allows for injury-inducing movement.
The soft tissue structures of the mouth are also at risk when rolling. Busted lips are very often the result of a crossface. It hurts, takes time to heal and can get badly infected. Isn’t it easier to just wear a mouthguard?
The Best BJJ Mouthguards
In terms of shopping options, mouthguards are not at all difficult to find. Although you can make do with your regular over-the-counter mouthguard, acquiring a BJJ mouthguard is a better investment. They’re not that much more expensive than the regular one but they offer so much more.
For a BJJ mouthguard, Shock Doctor always tops the list for me. I’ve used their products for a while now and can attest to their efficacy. They do exactly what the packaging says. Now, despite all their products being top class, always make an effort to get a gel mouthguard when possible. The gel lines the inside of the mouthguard, making it slightly larger than regular ones. It does, however, provide a lot more protection than smaller mouthguards.
Venum is a bran that offers everything connected combat sports. From Gi’s to MMA shorts and mouthguards, they have a very large selection. While having some good grappling mouthguards, they’re always going to come second to those only working with mouthpieces, like Shock Doctor. One mouthguard that stands out fo Jiu-Jitsu is the Venum Challenger, also gel infused. The one big feature is that this mouthguard allows for better breathing than any of the other,s while still offering sufficient protection.
Speaking of brands that have all the equipment a grappler might need, you can’t skip Under Armour. Their BJJ mouthguard is as close to a professional dental mouthguard as possible. It is chew-resistant and allows grapplers to breathe while wearing it. Its only setback is that it can be tricky to mold properly on the first try.
One of the bulkier BJJ mouthguard you can get, this one’s perks are top protection and affordable price. Sanabul already makes BJJ Gi’s so they understand the needs of grapplers. Durability is one notable characteristic of this mouthguard. You won’t do much wrong with one of these, especially if you’re new to grappling. It might be difficult to breathe with it, but this is going to give you an extra conditioning boost.
Sisu Aero Guard
When it comes to mouthguards that allow the athlete to breathe, this one tops the charts. It is a great fit since it has a very thin design. It’s very lightweight, offers maximum protection and is the most comfortable of the bunch. It does provide a bit of a challenge when molding, but not as much as Under Armour’s product. It is one of the favorites of BJJ athletes around the globe. When speaking of Sisu, their Max Guard is also a great option from the lightweight mouthguards category.
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Ona a final note, there’s hope for grapplers with braces as well. While many of the commercially available mouthguards might not be appropriate, dental ones are. A dentist can make you a custom BJJ mouthguard that takes your braces into account. Conversely, Shock Doctor offers one as well, again proving their superiority in the field.
How To Mold A BJJ Mouthguard
Most mouthguards come with clear and easy to follow molding instructions. However, we’re going to provide you with the basics fo making a new mouthguard fit you perfectly for Jiu-Jitsu.
The easiest way is to boil a pot of water and submerge the mouthguard for about 20 to 30 seconds. All mouthguards usually have instructions for the precise time needed. Remember, the mouthguard should be heated to the point that you are able to mold it not the point where it melts. Next, immediately cool the mouthpiece by dipping it in cold water before biting down on it.
After you put the BJJ mouthguard in your mouth, bite down on it and use your fingers to mold it from the outside. Use your tongue to press against the roof of your mouth and sucking the air and water for a tighter fit. Finally, submerge the molded mouthguard in cold water until it cools down completely. Next time you roll, you’ll only need to worry about getting a black eye.