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Should You Wear a Mouthguard for Jiu Jitsu? (Full Guide)

Should you wear a mouth guard for BJJ

Wondering if you should you wear a mouth guard for bjj?

I’ve trained bjj for over five years, and I’ve worn a mouth guard for some training and haven’t worn a mouth guard at other times.

Here is my recommendation to save you from walking around like some jiu jitsu caveman or hill billy in a royal blue gi.

Are you just starting BJJ? Have you noticed your teammates wearing mouthguards? You probably scrolled and researched about the different gear and apparrel you should buy for BJJ.

So aside from your usual uniform, another thing that you should have on during training and competitions is a mouthguard. 

You should wear a mouth guard for bjj to protect your teeth, gums, inner cheek, and lips from bruises, cuts, and damages during bjj training.

Yes! HeavyBJJ highly suggests that you purchase one already as a BJJ practitioner. Although it is not required in the sport, it is best to use one to protect yourself. 

A mouth guard is one of the most recommended items for bjj along with:

Moreover, even though it may take some time to get used to wearing, its benefits will outweigh the adjustment and getting used to.

To add to that, there are different variations that you can choose from. You can test out different types of mouthguard or even have one customised.

Read on as we go through the benefits and different mouthguards. We will also be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about mouthguards.

Benefits of Wearing a Mouthguard

Do know that mouthguards and other gears in jiu jitsu were made to benefit you. Here are the major reasons why you should consider wearing a mouth guard: 

  • Protection – If you do wear a mouthguard during training, you are protecting your teeth, gums and lips. Moreover, with the mouthguard, if there is a hard impact on the jaw during different positions, it will be able to help out. How? Well, there will be a slight resistance because of it. 
  • Breathing – Once you wear your mouthguard, you will notice that your breathing will be more focused. You will become a nose breather in this case. Did you know that study shows that nasal breathing is better than mouth breathing. It is because it shows better circulation and blood flow. Thus, resulting in better oxygenation. 
  • Confidence – Knowing that you are protected, gives you confidence when you roll. Moreover, you do not have to worry that certain positions or attacks can hurt your teeth or cut your lips. 

Why do some people not wear mouthguards

Not everyone who does jiu jitsu wears mouthguards. That is totally fine! Each and everyone has their own preference. But here are some of the common reasons why jiujiteros do not wear them during rollings sessions or training: 

  • Not required – You can still join class and participate in a competition if you do not wear a mouthguard. It is not a requirement that if you do not meet will cause disqualification. 
  • No striking BJJ – Although BJJ is a combat sport, there is no striking at all. Afterall, BJJ is regarded as the “gentle art.” Therefore, some of its practitioners would rationalize that there is no need for a mouth guard because their face will not be prone to any pressure or hitting. 
  • Uncomfortable – If it is your first time using a mouthguard, then it will be quite uncomfortable. A lot of things take time getting used to. Especially if you have been training for months already. Some people just prefer to not continue with the process of adjustment and focus more on their training session. Moreover, they find that the feeling of uncomfortability affects their game. 

Again, your personal reason why you do not want to wear a mouthguard is valid. We respect your preference. 

Types of Mouthguards

Single or Double Side Mouthguard

Single and double mouthguards are both very useful for BJJ. However, for BJJ which is a non striking martial art a single side mouthguard is enough. 

The double side mouthguard is much thicker and highly recommended for combat sports that involve striking like: MMA, Muay Thai, Boxing, etc. 

single sided moutgh guard
double sided moutgh guard

Stock Mouthguard

Stock mouthguards are those readily available in store. You will most likely be able to get one on your trip to the supermarket or your local sporting goods store. They are most likely the cheapest type of mouthguard to date. (Prices may still vary depending on the brand.) 

The thing though, that you have to consider about using this one is, it lacks hold. This means that you will have to constantly clench your teeth together to prevent it from falling. But if you are rushing to training and have no choice, purchasing this one is better than nothing. 

Boil and Bite Mouthguard

Another common type of mouthguard is the boil and bite type. Sounds interesting right? The boil and bite mouthguard is an alternative of the custom mouthguard, which you will learn more about later. 

Thes are probably the most common mouthguards available.

Another term for this type of mouthguard is, mouth formed guard. So you buy a mouthguard from the store, dip it in boiling water, then a few seconds in cool water before you place it in your mouth. 

From here, allow it to settle by pressing it against your tongue with your fingers. Now, close your mouth and give it sometime to form. 

Note that the information that we provided you is the generic way of how to use it. We highly encourage you to read the instructional pamphlet before doing so to avoid mistakes and to be able to save money. 

Check out this video on how to to use a boil and bite mouthguard.

Custom Mouthguard

A custom mouthguard is something that you have to get fitted for. Yes, you have to see your dentist to get one. What they will do on your trip is to take an imprint of your upper jawbone. 

The advantage of using a custom mouthguard, although a bit pricey compared to others, is that: it is well and best fitted for you. 

How to Care for you mouthguard 

Just like any of your gears in BJJ, you must care for your mouthguard as well. Moreover, this is a very personal item that must be kept clean and maintained to prevent possible bacterial growth. Allow us to give you some tips on how to care for your mouth guard: 

  1. Keep it in a hard shell case. This usually comes when you purchase your mouth guard. Always make sure that you keep it there for storage. 
  2. Rinse after using. Do not bring it home without being washed. 
  3. Use a toothbrush or toothpaste when cleaning. (You can just rinse it at the gym, and do this step at home if you are in a rush) 
  4. Pat dry with a towel or allow it to air dry.  Never use a blow dryer.
  5. Do not keep it in a closed case if it is wet. Why? You do not want molds forming because of this. 
  6. Soak in mouthwash or denture cleaner at least once a week for additional cleanse.
  7. Do not wash with hot water, ever. The only time you will expose it in hot water is if you will fit your boil and mouthguard. 
  8. Store in a cool place
  9. Observe tears and lacerations, to know if it is time to change. 

Mouthguard for BJJ – Conclusion

If you have not purchased a mouth guard, we highly suggest that you get one already after this read. Trust me! It will be worth it. 

Before someone else can protect you, you must be able to protect yourself. You do not want long term discomfort caused by any mouth injuries, right? So purchase that mouth guard that you have been eyeing or interested in. 

Before someone else can protect you, you must be able to protect yourself. You do not want long term discomfort caused by any mouth injuries, right? So purchase that mouth guard that you have been eyeing or interested in.

Not only will it protect you, you will be more confident in playing your game and your circulation will improve. Thus, making you last longer on the mats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a mouthguard for bjj?

No, you do not need a mouthguard for BJJ. But I highly suggest that you start wearing one. Know that the only one who can protect you on the mats is yourself. Having the correct and proper gear during your sessions can help prevent accidents. 

Moreover, despite the low chance of having blows to the mouth due during the game, it is still possible. If you break a tooth, it can be quite taxing to get it fixed. Aside from being pricey,this can affect your daily life activities for the time being. 

Hence, add that mouthguard to cart and allow it to be part of your first line defense. 

Can you wear someone else’s mouthguard?

Trust me, you do not want to wear someone else’s mouthguard. This is against all rules. It is very unhygienic to do this. If you do this, there will be a high chance of virus or bacteria spread. 

To add to that, a mouthguard is a very personal item so you should be using your own. Moreover, as time goes by these mouthguards adjust to the owner’s teeth and fitting. Hence, it will not be able to help you out. 

Lastly, mouthguards are not that pricey. So you should be able to invest one for yourself. Always remember that, it is for your own good and benefit.

How frequently should you buy a new mouthguard

If your mouthguard is damaged, then you definitely should get one as soon as possible. But if your mouthguard has minimal tears but has been used consistently, then we recommend changing your mouthguard every 3-6 months.

Just think of it like a toothbrush, it should be replaced somewhat frequently. This prevents bacterial formation and possible negative impact during usage.  

Can you wear a mouthguard with braces?

Definitely a yes! We highly recommend mouth guard especially if you have braces. Moreover, the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that anyone with braces wear a mouthguard during sports. Hence, BJJ, a combative martial art, is included in the recommendation. 

Furthermore, by wearing one will prevent lacerations and abrasions. This can be caused by metal friction to your lips or inside cheek due to certain movements or positions.  Moreover, by wearing a mouthguard, there will be a  lower chance of having a fractured or lost tooth. 

Should I buy a custom mouthguard?

Although a custom mouthguard is not a requirement, you can buy one. Hence, if you have the means then yes feel free to go for the custom made mouthguard. 

While custom made mouthguards tend to fit better you will likely have similar protection when wearing just a boil and bite mouthguard. 

So getting a custom mouthguard is by no means a requirement but something extra that you can splurge on if you would like. 

Should I wear a single side or double sided mouthguard?

We previously talked about the difference between a single and double mouthguard. The main difference between the two is its thickness. 

Even though I recommended that a single side mouthguard is enough, your preference still matters. 

Each and everyone has their own preference. If you feel more comfortable and confident using a double sided mouthguard and by all means, do so. 

What is highly important is that you are comfortable and able to protect yourself from possible accidents and trauma while doing the sport. 

How do you breathe when wearing a mouthguard

Breathing and training with a mouthguard will be a different experience. To be honest, it can take some time to get used to having it on during training sessions. 

Breathing and training with a mouth guard can take some time to adjust. You can expect ~1 month of training with it consistently before you forget it is there.

The more you use your mouthguard, the more you will feel like it is part of you. You will be able to do nasal breathing naturally and are able to breath and train properly.

Do UFC fighters wear mouthguards?

You have probably seen a UFC fight on record or live already. Know that it is a requirement for the combatants to wear a mouthguard during the fight. 

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is currently the biggest organization hosting mixed martial art fights in the world today. They make sure that each and every participant is still in a safe environment and that they comply with the rules and standards. 

For the UFC, despite having grappling involved, there will be a lot of striking. Hence, having a blow in the mouth, teeth and jaw area via punches or kicks is inevitable. That is why all players participating must wear a mouthguard as a form of protection. 

Do mouthguards help in boxing

Yes, definitely. As you know, boxing is a sport focused on attacking the upper body and head. Hence, there will be a number of hits to the facial area. This then can result in a tooth falling off, fractures and or lacerations. Therefore, a mouthguard is extremely necessary. 

Well, one of the most notable fight in boxing history was that of  Jack Sharkey and Mike Mc Tigue in the year 1927. It was Mc Tigue who was winning the fight, but due to certain circumstances, the fight had to be stopped. Why? It is because Mc Tigue suffered a chipped tooth that burst an artery. 

Quite interesting, right? 

Here’s the video of the 1927 fight I talked about.

Do muay thai fighters wear mouth guards?

Just like MMA fighters and boxers, Muay Thai practitioners wear mouthguards. This is because there are also extreme blows to the facial area. 

Thus, wearing mouthguards help protect the athletes  from an impact that could most likely cause dental trauma, oral soft tissue injuries, bone fractures or dislocation and lacerations to the lips.

Thanks for reading all and see you in the next one!

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