Brazilian jiu-jitsu is all fun and games until you get an elbow to your teeth. But do you need a mouthguard for practicing BJJ?
Wearing a mouth guard when practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu can save you a lot of money in dentist bills, and prevent a lot of pain and broken teeth. It can also prevent you from getting knocked out by accident. For the price, mouthguards are definitely worth it.
Let’s take a deeper look into the world of BJJ and mouthguards. If I can not convince you to wear one by the end of this post, I have failed my mission. Let’s get started.
Should you wear a mouthguard for BJJ?
Even though some people claim it’s not necessary to wear a mouthguard in BJJ, for the price it gives you a lot of protection.
Let’s go through the different pros and cons you should wear a mouthguard for BJJ.
Pro: Mouthguard can save your teeth
Getting an accidental elbow or knee hit to your teeth can do serious damage to your teeth set. Because they are accidental, there might also be a lot of force involved, if you were sparring with force.
Not only will losing teeth be extremely painful but those teeth also can not be replaced with originals. There are fake teeth, but they still are not original ones.
A mouthguard is a cheap way to increase the likelihood of you walking home from the BJJ class with all your teeth still attached.
Pro: Mouthguard can save you a lot in dental bills
Getting a new set of teeth at the dentist can get really expensive. Paying 20 dollars for a mouthguard, no matter how cheap and bad can literally save you thousands of dollars in dentist bills.
Even though you think you will be careful and it’s unlikely anything will happen, all it takes is one white belt to spar with, who takes things too seriously and you might lose a pair of your front teeth.
Pro: Mouthguard can save you from getting knocked out by accident
Powerful blows to your teeth can cause serious pain, even if you didn’t lose your teeth. You might end up getting knocked out.
Having a deformable mouthguard will not only protect your teeth but also protect you from a lot of pain. Especially when sparring with white belts, the risks are higher.
Con: Mouthguards cost money
Even though the price you pay for a good mouthguard is way less than what a dentist’s bill would be, it can still seem like an unnecessary addition.
The prices of mouthguards for BJJ vary from 10 dollars, all the way up to 50 dollars or more. I would highly recommend getting a deformable one.
Deformable mouthguards will be formed according to your teeth at home. For example, I had to boil my mouthguard for a while in the water, then I just bit my teeth into the soft plastic or whatever that was made of. It has been fitting perfectly for my teeth ever since.
Con: Mouthguards can make it more difficult to breathe while sparring
Even though mouthguards can save your teeth, they do come with a price. Breathing when sparring can be a little bit more work since you can not breathe through your mouth as easily as you would without a mouth guard.
There are differences between mouthguards as well, some might be more well-optimized for breathing, whereas others are just designed for protection.
Is a mouthguard necessary for BJJ?
A mouthguard is typically not required by the gym but can be highly recommended. That is because you will never know what your opponent will do, especially in a tough situation.
No matter how careful you will be, there is always the risk of your partner doing a sudden move. Next thing you know you are lying on the floor with a couple of teeth in your hand.
How to choose a mouthguard for BJJ?
When it comes to choosing a mouthguard, there are really no strict rules you should go for, but I will give you some tips that I found out when I bought and formed my mouthguard.
1. Get a mouthguard that is somewhat your size.
Getting a mouthguard that is close to your mouth size will make the forming and wearing it more comfortable.
Some mouthguards have sizes, while others are one-size. Go as close as you can by eye, but don’t worry. You can modify it as you start to form it for your teeth, I have a few tips for that.
If you find your mouthguard to be too long, meaning it goes too far to the back of your mouth, you can cut pieces off the end.
Do not cut too much, but taking small fractions off just with scissors or something can make wearing it more pleasant.
The cutting edges will be “sharp” after you have cut them. What I did is I melted the sharp edges with a lighter, just a little bit so the edges would round up. A proper wash afterward and that was it.
2. Get a mouthguard with tame colors
Something like black or white will never be out of style. Getting a mouthguard with my little pony image on the front can be a bit too much for some gyms.
Not that there is nothing wrong with those, but if you do not want to stand out of the crowd, go with something a little bit more traditional.
3. A mouthguard does not have to cover your lower teeth
I have seen mouthguards that “protect” both the upper and lower teeth in your mouth. I don’t really know what those are designed for, but they are really unpleasant to wear. (Trust me, I bought one years ago).
Most mouthguards only have protection for your upper teeth and that is typically enough. Your upper teeth will be at the front anyways so they will most likely also protect your lower set.
4. Get a deformable mouthguard
I mentioned this before, but I want to make sure you don’t get those one-size mouthguards that can not be formed according to your teeth.
Deformable means you will boil the mouthguard in water for a while and bite into the mouthguard. It will make the mouthguard a perfect fit for your teeth and it will be a lot more pleasant to wear.
In conclusion, wearing a mouthguard in BJJ is not necessary, but I would highly recommend it.
It makes practicing more fun when I don’t have to be afraid of my beloved teeth getting knocked out of my mouth. Also, it can save a lot of time and prevent a lot of pain, if someone were to blow your teeth off.
It is kind of like driving a car. No matter how good of a driver you were, there is no guarantee other people will drive as safely.
No matter how careful you try to be, there is always the other variable: your training partner. If they make a mistake, your teeth might end up paying the price.
You don’t have to wear a mouthguard for the whole class. Just for the sparring section where most of those accidents occur.
Hopefully I convinced you to wear a mouthguard as you practice BJJ.