Wearing braces has certain limitations regarding which foods you are allowed to eat and even sports you can play. But what about MMA? Can you do MMA with braces?
You can do MMA with braces, but you will need extra equipment to prevent damage or injuries. A molded mouth guard from an orthodontist will customize the mouth guard to adapt to your teeth, jaw, and brackets of your braces.
Though expensive, this offers full protection and allows you to train MMA with braces without worrying too much about possible damage.
However, this is just one solution to training MMA with braces. But is it safe for you to compete? And if so, discover the best and most popular mouthguard brands for braces.
Can You Do MMA With Braces?
Of course, you can train MMA with braces, which is a common practice, not just in MMA but in other martial arts. However, to protect the braces, your teeth, and your jaw, you must be careful in training and invest in the proper protective equipment.
Custom-fitted mouth guards offer the most protection, and you can get those from your dentist. They will take an impression of your teeth and braces to design and create a mouth guard that perfectly fits and offers extra layers of protection. On top of that, custom mouthguards have a sleek design that allows normal breathing.
Training MMA with braces is fine as long as you keep safety your number one priority. You will still be fine if you choose the cheaper option and get a stock mouth guard at the local store.
How To Train MMA with Braces?
Braces do not limit your ability to go through the entire MMA workout. No, with the right equipment, you will train and do the same workouts as other fighters who do not have braces. But, there are certain things you need to pay extra attention to prevent any damage.
First, MMA training is very safe most of the time. Most students, whether beginners or pro fighters, spend most of their training time doing heavy bag workouts, hitting the pads, or doing cardio and strength workouts. This part of the training does not represent any risk to your braces or teeth.
How To Spar In MMA With Braces?
Sparring is where the risk increases and where most people get hurt. Whether it’s a grappling class where you roll with other students, or a striking session, you have to be extra careful.
First, sparring is not a competitive match where two parties exchange full blow shots. Yes, there are different types of sparring — light, medium, and hard. But be sure to avoid heavy sparring rounds if you are not a pro fighter trying to make a career.
Instead, focus on light sparring, using 50% or less percent of your striking power. The emphasis is on match simulation, learning how to apply techniques, and performing in a flow. These light or medium punches won’t damage your braces or teeth if you wear a mouth guard. The risk gets even lower if you always wear a padded head guard.
Last but not least, pick your sparring partners right. Do not spar with people who always try to prove something to somebody, tend to go too hard, or are bullies.
How To Grapple With Braces?
Grappling and rolling on the ground imposes even less risk. However, there are scenarios where you can end up in certain positions where the pressure of the squeeze might cause damage.
These situations do not often happen because you rarely end up in cross-face wrestling holds in training. But still, be sure to train only with experienced partners and the ones who know how to spar the right way.
Learn How To Bite Down On A Mouth Guard
Even the best mouth guards won’t protect you if you absorb the shot with your mouth open. When you firmly bite down on the mouth guard right before the impact, the rubber acts like a shock absorber that reduces/spreads the force of the impact and, with that, the risk of damage.
Always Wear A Mouth Guard
Lastly, do not forget to wear a mouth guard. Though this sounds like an obvious thing to do, a lot of people get hurt because they fail to put on the mouthguard. If you notice that you left your mouth guard at home, do not spar that day, or if you have time, get back home and get it.
Different Types Of MMA Mouth Guards For Braces
There are three different types of mouth guards for MMA. Here is a detailed explanation of all:
Getting a custom-fitted mouth guard from your dentist is, by far, the best option. Your dentist will design the guard based on the impression of your teeth and braces. As a result, the mouthguard would fit snugly around your teeth and leave no space between teeth and braces.
When the guard is perfectly aligned with your teeth, it prevents movement and reduces the chance of slipping out of place. The only “downside” is that orthodontic mouthguards cost up to a few hundred dollars.
Stock mouth guards offer decent protection if you don’t wear braces, and you can get this one in just about every drug store. This is also the cheapest option but is not designed to fit your teeth.
The design is standardized, and you would have to be lucky to find the one that fits well enough. Stock mouth guards tend to move a lot between your teeth, especially if you wear braces.
Boil and Bite
Boil and bite are very similar to stock mouth guards and are also easy to find in every drug store. It is made out of thermodynamic plastic, which enables you to shape the mouth guard to your teeth.
The trick is to boil the mouth guard to soften the plastic and firmly bite down on it until you get the right shape. Though these are better than the stock ones, you won’t fully protect your braces and teeth due to the lack of a moldable guard.
Best MMA Mouthguards For Braces
There are dozens of different mouthguard designs and hundreds of brands, making it hard to choose the right one. To make it easier, here is a list of the 5 best mouthguards for braces wearers.
Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard
It is made of 100% medical-grade silicone and does not require any boiling or molding before putting it on.
When you put it in your mouth, Shock Doctor double braces mouthguard will start adapting and adjusting to your teeth without interrupting your breathing.
OPRO Gold Level Mouthguard for Braces
Their Gold level model is among the best-selling ones, and it is easy to see why. It offers competition-level protection, is very durable, comes with an anti-microbial case that protects against 99.99% bacteria, and is available in 5 different colors.
OPRO Gold Level is also great because you can easily adjust it to your teeth. Before using, you need to boil it first to soften the material, before putting it in your mouth and biting down to form it to your teeth for a custom fit.
Shock Doctor Braces Mouthguard
Shock Doctor is a great option for upper braces wearers. Since it is made of 100% medical-grade silicone, boiling and molding are not required, so you can take it out of the box and put it in your mouth. The mouthguard will adjust to your teeth and all the changes in position.
Can You Compete in MMA With Braces?
You can compete in MMA while wearing braces, but bear in mind that this comes at high risk. In training, wearing the right gear, like a custom-made mouthguard, is often more than enough to prevent damage. But competing is different as each strike is thrown with a lot of power.
Amateur competition imposes less risk on your teeth. On the amateur level, fighters have less experience and have yet to learn how to perform correctly. The accuracy of their shots is not that high, and they cannot generate huge power as pro fighters do. Still, participating in amateur MMA matches while wearing braces is a big gamble. Just one well-placed strike to the mouth can easily damage your braces or maybe cause injuries to your mouth.
On paper, you can participate in pro MMA matches with a properly molded mouth guard, but it is not recommended. Unlike the amateur, pro-level is where fighters are far more skilled, experienced, accurate, and can generate a lot of power in every strike.
So yes, you can compete in pro matches with braces, but there is a high risk you will suffer a severe injury.
It is always better to put your career on hold, let the braces do the job of fixing your teeth, and then get back to competition. In the meantime, you can improve your technique, fitness, and overall skill set in the gym.
What Happens When You Get Punched With Braces?
When you get punches right in the mouth while wearing braces, the mouth guard will absorb most of the force and spread it away from the braces and teeth. The strike can still cut your lip and tongue or break your jaw. But the braces will be fine and won’t contribute to the damage.
How much force the mouthguard absorbs depends on the production quality and how it fits your teeth. Custom-made are the best and offer the most protection, while the stock ones you can get at the local store offer a bit less.
The story is a bit different, more painful, to say the least, if you get punched without wearing a mouthguard. Braces or metal pieces attached to your teeth could only worsen the pain and damage.
Upon receiving an impact, you will feel a sharp pain and maybe instantly taste the blood in your mouth. Braces will, in most cases, irritate the nerves in your teeth, and maybe cut the lip, tongue, and cheeks.
Will A Mouth Guard Damage Your Braces?
No, wearing a mouth guard, regardless of whether it’s custom-made or stock, is recommended and won’t damage your braces. In fact, the mouth guard might be the most crucial part of the equipment, not just in MMA but in other combat sports.
All athletes, pro or amateurs, with or without braces, must wear a mouth guard whenever they are sparring.
Braces cost thousands of dollars and you have to wear those for quite a lot of time. Causing damage won’t just slow down your progress but will cost you even more money to repair the damage. So if you want to train in MMA, you have to approach it correctly and with safety as the number one priority.
Final Thoughts — Do Not Let Braces Stop You
Wearing braces to fix your teeth is a long process that requires inevitable adaptation when it comes to lifestyle. But it should not stop you from chasing your dreams, as you can train in MMA with braces without worrying too much about the consequences.
In the best scenario, you will visit the dentist’s office and let them know your intentions before signing up for MMA classes. They will give you some good tips on avoiding damage and design a custom molded mouth guard that will fully protect your teeth and braces.
But remember that any type, even the most expensive mouth guard, offers complete protection only if you are careful and do light sparring. No one can guarantee you will be safe if you spar too hard or enter the competition.