Muay Thai is a fantastic martial art but can you do it with braces? I researched the internet trying to answer this question.
So can you do Muay Thai with braces? Much of Muay Thai involves pad work where you don’t get hit. Even if you’re doing light sparring if you have a mouth guard having braces is not an issue. Orthodontic mouth guards are specifically designed for braces.
I know a few people in my gym who do Muay Thai with braces without issue. As a beginner, you don’t even need to wear a mouth guard as you’re not expected to spar.
However, it’s still important to know the potential risks of having braces, although a Shock Doctor mouth guard will greatly reduce any risks.
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Why You Can Do Muay Thai With Braces
If you’re someone wondering if you can do Muay Thai with braces I understand where that is coming from. However, in reality, you can do Muay Thai without ever getting hit as the majority of it involves pad work.
Most of your beginner Muay Thai training will involve warming up with some light skipping, calisthenics, and light training thrown in. Afterwards you could do some movement drills with your partner, hit Muay Thai pads and practice some combos your coach is trying to teach.
In the typical Muay Thai class having braces does not make a difference. During your Muay Thai class you can choose when and if you want to spar. You can fully get the benefits of the sport without any risk of damaging your expensive braces.
However, due to the added risk from getting hit, even with light sparring, you should wear a mouth guard. Most sparring should be light and technical. With a good Sparring partner you can enjoy all the benefits of Muay Thai even with braces
However, it is still important to know the potential risks you have engaging in a combat sport with braces.
Potential Risks Of Doing Muay Thai With Braces
Although doing Muay Thai with braces is a lot less risky than doing boxing with braces (due to less getting hit in the head), you should be aware of the major issues that can happen.
- Dental Avulsion: This fancy word means your teeth are knocked out. This is when the force of the punch dislocates your teeth from the socket! You don’t need me to tell you how bad this injury is with braces.
- Fractures: Fractures could include broken or damaged teeth with injuries to the jaw
- Abrasions & Lacerations: If you’re hit hard enough your teeth might scratch or bite the areas of the mouth like the lips and cheek. Your braces will make these cuts worse.
Even with the correct mouth guard, you need to be careful while fighting as your wire can loosen and the brackets supporting the brace can break.
Depending on where you live, braces are very expensive with the average cost being $3000-7000! So if you need to return to your dentist because of a Muay Thai related injury that would not be fun. You should not worry too much as light sparring will not do any damage to your braces.
How To Prevent Injuries In Muay Thai With Braces
Since you have braces you need to take more precautions when training Muay Thai. An Orthodontic mouth guard will be your best friend. Here is why fighters use them.
Muay Thai Why You Should Wear A Mouth Guard
A Mouth Guard Protects Your Teeth
A mouth guard prevents the bottom row of teeth from clashing to the top row of teeth when you get hit. Not only will it protect your teeth from breaking but it will help protect your lips and gums.
A Mouth Guard Gives You Something To Bite On
Biting on the mouth guard will help stabilize your jaw which reduces the risk of jaw fractures when you get hit. No one likes their teeth getting dislocated -so make sure you bite down!
A Mouth Guard Reduces Concussion
Custom mouth guards have been proven to reduce the risk of concussion in all sports, check the study here. The studies are pretty convincing, so it’s better not to take the risk no?
However, you cannot get just any mouth guard. With braces you must get an orthodontic mouth guard. This mouth guard is made of a higher grade of material than a traditional mouth guard.
An orthodontic mouth guard is specifically designed to work with your braces as they sit on top of the brackets and keep both the upper low teeth protected from the line of fire. The high grade material also protects your lips from being pushed into the brackets via the impacts of kicks and punches.
I recommend you ask your dentist for a specifically designed orthodontic mouth guard that fits your braces.
If that is out of your price range, I highly recommend the fantastic Shock Doctor which was made together with the American Association Of Orthodontists. You can get it for a fantastic price right from Amazon here with sizes for both children and adults.
If you want to know more about mouth guards in general, and other reasons why it’s one of the most important pieces of equipment you have, check out my page here.
Check out a review from a Boxer who bought the Shock Doctor mouth guard and likes it a lot.
Muay Thai Why You Should Wear Headgear
I don’t wear headgear during Muay Thai, but it’s a great option to add another layer of protection to your braces. There are three different types of headgear. They each provide unique forms of protection to your braces.
Open Face: This headgear offers the most visibility with decent protection. However, the issue when you have braces is it leaves your face entirely wide open.
Take a look at the top quality Ringside Headgear for a fantastic price on Amazon right here.
Cheek Protection: This offers more protection than a traditional open-face headgear but your nose will be exposed. Much of your mouth and jaw will have good protection on both sides to stop those silly dentist bills from ever happening.
If you want more protection for your braces but think the full face head-guard is too restrictive take a look at the Ringside Head-guard on Amazon for the best price here
Full Face: This will provide the most protection possible for your braces. You may choose either full face cage protection, or one with a bar that protects your nose or mouth. If braces are expensive where you live, this is the option to give yourself the absolute maximum protection possible.
If you want the most protection possible for your expensive braces, get the Ringside Safety heard guard for a good price on Amazon right here.
Practice Good Muay Thai Defence
Aside from not getting hit in the first place, catching the punch or blocking is the best way to reduce getting your braces damaged. Make sure you have a solid Muay Thai stance with a high guard, your elbows tucked and your hands close to your face.
Your chin should always be tucked down as you should look at your opponent through your eyebrows. Your chin is very vulnerable and if you get hit there your entire mouth will shake causing damage to your braces.
Don’t always have your chin down but make an effort to easily get into this defensive position whenever you need to.
If you need more help with your defense take a look at the fantastic Tristar Gym owner Firas Zahabi as he goes through the Muay Thai frame defense.