If you are a fitness fiend and have not yet tried boxing, it is only a matter of time before you make the leap and swing that first punch.
Boxing, while once reserved for gritty gyms in urban settings, has now taken hold everywhere from the smaller suburbs to seaside towns, giving everyone a chance to unleash an inner Rocky.
People of all ages and backgrounds, and fitness levels are strapping on gloves for the first time and taking part in a sport that has been around for thousands of years and has suddenly seen a meteoric rise in popularity.
Why Is Boxing So Popular Now?
One reason boxing has gained popularity as a workout is some of the celebrities and models who have promoted it on social media. This opened the eyes of millions, suddenly making people rethink boxing as a way to get fit, and not just something they have seen in the movies (and the Olympics).
As is the case with most things, the proof is in the pudding. And boxing offers abundant proof in terms of toned, lean, and fit bodies. The combination of cardio work in boxing (and its subsequent calorie burn) plus how it strengthens and tones muscles makes it unbeatable for those who really want to transform their bodies.
Perhaps the best part of boxing as a workout, though, is the reason why many people are more than willing to pay for boxing gyms: stress relief. We do not suggest it is a perfect substitute for therapy, but boy does it come close!
Boxing provides a good outlet for managing stress, and many people take part in boxing for that reason and tone their physique.
Finally, there is a great sense of camaraderie and community in boxing gyms; many people enjoy being encouraged by others to get outside their comfort zone, try something new, and have fun while doing it.
Do I Need a Mouth Guard While Boxing?
The short answer is if you want to keep your teeth, then yes.
A mouth guard is the most important piece of equipment in boxing, and you want to invest in a good one if you plan to start throwing punches in a gym. (You probably need one if you are throwing punches outside of the gym, too—but we are certainly not advocating that!)
While most people think of the mouth guard’s function as specific to protecting teeth—and clearly that’s a big one—it also functions to help protect against jaw injuries and head trauma.
Boxing can be done safely under the guidance of qualified trainers in a professional gym; however, it is not without risks. Therefore, to maximize your safety and minimize the risk of injury, you must invest in the right equipment. Just as you would not play in the NFL without a helmet or play indoor volleyball without knee pads, you do not want to box without a sports mouthguard.
The exception to the mouth guard rule would only come into play when you work out in an individual boxing routine: for example, a kickboxing class where each student has his or her own bag, and you are not sparring with other people.
What Do I Need to Know About Shopping for a Mouth Guard?
One of the first things you will discover if you set out to shop for a mouth guard online is that you will need to narrow your results to those specific to boxing (or “sports” mouth guards).
Where you see a guard referred to as a “nightguard,” these are specific for dental needs, used to prevent patients from grinding and damaging their teeth while they sleep. You may, in fact, own one of these already, but it should not double as your boxing mouthguard.
When choosing your boxing mouth guard, quality and safety should be your utmost concern. Finding a high-quality mouthguard does not necessarily have to break the bank: you can find affordable options that will also keep you safe.
Also, comfort and fit are a major factor, and we strongly recommend you take a look at user reviews before you purchase your mouthguard. This holds true for the rest of your equipment as well, from boxing gloves to bags and other workout gear. Consumer reviews can often tell you everything you need to know!
In addition to quality, comfort, safety, and fit, you will also need to think about the type of mouthguard you choose.
Boil and Bite Versus Custom: What Are the Differences?
If this is your first time purchasing any kind of athletic mouthguard, the phrase “boil and bite” may sound a bit intimidating. Rest assured, you will not be suffering torturous burns just to get your mouthguard in place!
“Boil and bite” refers to a common way that mouthguards are mass-produced for users to create a semi-custom fit affordably.
The mouthguard is made of a gel that softens when boiled; the boxer then places the guard in his mouth and bites down, creating an impression of his own teeth that will set and harden when the mouth guard cools.
These are popular because they are less expensive; they are also ideal in kids sports when the jaw is still developing, and of course, teeth are coming and going! A new boil and bite mouthguard may be needed each season, and this is not something parents would want to spend a ton of money on each time (especially since they are small and easily lost).
This option works for adults in boxing, and it may be the best bet for someone new to the sport and not sure yet if it will become a long-term passion or hobby. There are plenty of decent options available, and you can graduate to a custom guard if and when you decide boxing is the right sport for you.
A custom mouthguard involves creating a mold of your own teeth that is then sent to a manufacturer, who creates the guard to your unique specifications. These are more expensive to produce, but they are worth it in terms of the overall fit, comfort, and protection they afford to anyone sparring in the ring.
Four Signs That Your Boxing Mouth Guard Is a Good Fit
Once you have chosen either a boil and bite guard or splurged for the custom one, you want to ensure you have a good fit before jumping in the ring. This guard plays a crucial role in protecting you while you box: it works to absorb shock and prevent jaw injuries, soft tissue injuries, or lost teeth.
The shock absorption from a mouth guard even plays a role in preventing concussions, so its importance and proper fit cannot be overstated.
You will know that you have a good fit if:
The Mouth Guard is Secure in Your Mouth
Can you imagine what will happen if you are distracted by an ill-fitting mouthguard while you box? If the words “knocked out” came to mind, you are on the right track.
A mouth guard that is not snug and secure will have you distracted at the worst possible time. If you can easily dislodge it with your tongue and constantly fall off your teeth, you have a bad fit and need to replace your mouthguard.
The Mouth Guard Is Comfortable
While having a guard in your mouth will not feel natural, so to speak, it also should not be unbearable. A properly fitted guard should be comfortable and something you can get used to pretty quickly. If it is uncomfortable to the point of distraction, it does not provide the safety you need while boxing.
The Mouth Guard Allows You to Speak and Breathe with Ease
A boxing mouthguard should not prevent you from breathing easily. When you consider the levels of cardio activity associated with boxing, breathing is incredibly important! Boxing makes for a great workout, but it should not be hampered by a mouth guard that will not let you take in enough air. Similarly, you should still be able to speak with your mouthguard, even if it sounds a little odd. Those around you should still understand your speech.
The Mouth Guard Has Appropriate Coverage
A good mouth guard in boxing will cover all of your upper teeth (except the back molars), and it will also cover some of your gum tissue. The appropriate amount of coverage ensures you are protected by the mouthguard—if it does not cover your teeth, it cannot do the job.
Whether novices or longtime gym rats, the bottom line for boxers is that protecting your mouth is an absolute must. Once you purchase a mouth guard, you must be sure you have an appropriate fit to box safely. The price of a mouth guard pales compared to the price of dental work, so it is best to make this minimal investment that has a maximum return!