Can You Do Judo With Braces?


judo braces lg

Judo doesn’t involve striking since it’s a grappling-based martial art. But there are some throws, holds, and chokes that could impact your face. So, can you do Judo with braces?

Here’s what I discovered:

One can learn and practice Judo with braces on. The vital thing is to ensure that a mouthguard is worn to protect the mouth and, consequently, the braces. Custom mouthguards are better because they are fitted to the peculiar shape and contours of the individual’s mouth.

You don’t need to be overly concerned about the likelihood of sustaining an injury in Judo once you protect yourself.

Of course, there’s no harm in talking to your orthodontist about your plan. But know that the probability of direct hits to the mouth and your braces are low. But, accidents do happen.

So, for peace of mind, use a custom form-fitted mouthguard.

I have been involved in martial arts on and off all my life and always wear a mouthguard when sparring, and have never had any serious issues. So, in this article, we’ll check out some cool info around how you can enjoy Judo even if you use braces.

Let the fun begin…

How do you protect your braces when doing Judo?

Wear a custom mouthguard to protect the mouth when wearing braces while practicing Judo. The mouthguard protects the lips from being injured by the braces if the mouth is struck or smushed.

A good mouthguard is kind of like a “crash helmet” for your teeth and jaw.

There are several high-quality brand-name mouthguards such as shock doctor, Teeth walls, Redline sportswear, OPRO Gold level, Under Armor, Comfort Pro…

CLICK HERE for my pick of the best mouthguard on Amazon. Plenty of size and color options to choose from, thousands of reviews, an Amazon’s Choice product, and almost all reviews are 5-star.

Mouthguards are also known as mouth protectors, and they protect your teeth and gum. If you’ve got braces on, it’d be protected, too. Essentially mouthguards help cushion the impact of a blow or hit to your mouth.

They help reduce the risk of getting your teeth broken and of sustaining injuries in your mouth, jaw, lips…A mouthguard would protect your braces while you enjoy Judo without a care in the world.

Most are designed to cover only the top row of teeth.

They can also be custom-designed to cover both. I mentioned that there are several over-the-counter options. Some can be custom-made for your mouth.

The former is cheaper, but the latter is better. Naturally, it will be more expensive. But, it’s better to go for quality if you’ve got the budget.

If you chose off-the-shelf variety, make sure you get the ones meant for protection while engaging in sports. There’s another type for patients with bruxism (teeth grinding). That’s not what you want.

Is Judo better than Wrestling for self-defense?

Check out a deep dive in a recent article of mine. I showed the strengths and weaknesses of both and revealed which one is the clear winner.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you use a normal mouthguard with braces doing Judo?

Normal mouthguards that have not been form-fitted are not designed with braces in mind and can be uncomfortable. It is better to use a custom-fitted mouthguard that has been formed around the braces’ brackets and wires. This will provide maximum comfort and protection.

So, you can use a normal mouthguard with braces, but it’s better to consider a better option.

It’s ideal to consult your dentist and orthodontist before making a final decision. They’ll most likely advise you to get one that’s custom-made for your mouth, and that protects your braces, too.

Even if you’re okay with a normal mouthguard when you’ve not experienced being hit, they would be able to advise you on what’s ideal going forward because it’s always better to be proactive.

You don’t want to wait until you get it to get what’ll protect your braces in the long run. So, get a custom mouthguard and forget any anxiety you have around wearing your braces while enjoying some killer Judo moves.

You’ve heard that Aikido and Judo are similar, and you’re curious to know which one’s better.

I compared both in some depth in a recent article of mine. I even explained that Judo is more offensive. By the time you’re through with it, you’d know which one is better.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do you mold a mouthguard for braces?

Molding a mouthguard for braces involves a few simple steps. It includes bringing water to a boil, dipping the mouthguard in it, removing it with tongs, and almost immediately placing it in the mouth around the upper teeth and gently biting down. After 30 seconds, place it in cold water to set it fully.

Let’s check out the process. It’s very simple but may require repetitions until you get a fit.

  • Boil water for a few minutes. Then, place the mouthguard in it for about 40 seconds.
  • Remove the mouthguard with tongs.
  • Almost immediately, place it in your mouth (it will be warm but not too hot).
  • Watch your mouth in the mirror as you insert the gel. Align it carefully with the centerline of the upper teeth. Bite on it so that your teeth sink in the inner gel’s bottom completely.
  • Use your fingers to press its edges toward and up your gum and teeth so that it can create more grips.
  • If it fits well, place it in cold water. If not, repeat the process until it fits.

Alternatively, you could see an orthodontist and get one that’s custom-fitted for your mouth and braces. However, that will be expensive. Form-fitting your own mouthguard works well, and the mouthguard and case will be well under $20.

CLICK HERE for my pick of the best mouthguard on Amazon. Plenty of size and color options to choose from, thousands of reviews, an Amazon’s Choice product, and almost all reviews are 5-star.

Do they wear headgear in Judo?

Judokas do not wear headgear as they’re not a requirement for practicing Judo. Even in most tournaments, they are not used. But on a case-by-case basis, the officiating referee may approve the use of headgear by one or both parties if they have good reasons for its use. But they are not required or commonly used.

Injuries come with the territory when we talk about sports, especially contact sports such as Judo. The Olympic committee revealed that there’s about 11% to 12% average injury risk based on statistics covering 2008 and 2012.

But most were injuries to the shoulder, fingers, and knee, and not to the head.

The stats are consistent in that Judo is not a striking art. It’s a game of grappling and throws, and there are rules for choosing who wins and for protecting Judo fighters from injury.

For example, slams are illegal. A slam is when an opponent is lifted off of the ground and then dumped with unnecessary force.

Moves that could have the opponent landing on their heads and necks are also illegal. But accidents do happen. So, if you’ll feel safer with headgear, talk to your instructor, but they are not required.

And, with or without headgear, make sure you become a master of Ukemi. This is one of the “secret” weapons of formidable grapplers. It’s essentially a skill around how to break falls.

Whether you are pushed or swept off of your feet suddenly, you’d be hip on how to curl and roll so that you’re not injured when your body connects with the mat or concrete.

What happens if you get punched with braces?

Getting punched in the face with braces if not wearing a mouth guard could lead to serious injuries to the teeth and lips. Wearing a mouthguard acts as a cushion that protects the mouth, lips, teeth, and braces from the impact, reducing the likelihood of an injury.

Let’s face it. Injuries sustained when you’re wearing braces (but without a mouthguard) can be painful, seeing as your cheeks, tongues, and lips can get caught in the braces! 0uch.

Your teeth may be damaged. It’s not a pleasant experience if you ask me.

There are a lot of blood vessels in the mouth, so there’ll be a lot of bleeding. But, don’t be scared, it’s natural. Apply some ice to reduce the bleeding.

Depending on how severe the injury is, you may need to see a surgeon. This is why you always want to wear a custom mouthguard with your braces.

If you wear a custom mouthguard, it acts as a cushion so that there isn’t a direct hit to the braces. Your mouth, teeth, cheeks, tongue, lips…are cushioned from the adverse impact of the punch.

But might it be better to learn Judo at home if you have braces? Can that even be done?

In a recent article of mine, I showed that you can and offered actionable, cost-effective strategies to help you. It might surprise you to learn you not only can learn at home, but you can even earn your black belt!

Just click the link to read the article on my site.

Conclusion

It’s natural to be concerned about wearing braces to Judo practice. After all, there are some throws, holds, and chokes that may accidentally impact one’s mouth.

In this article, we learned that injuries come with the territory when we’re checking out contact sports such as Judo.

But, the likelihood of getting injured is relatively low. The important thing is to make sure that custom-made mouthguards are always worn for sparring and competitions.

We learned that headgear is not a requirement. The incidence of head injuries is very low. Finally, we looked at the impact of getting punched in the face while wearing braces.

CLICK HERE for my pick of the best mouthguard on Amazon. Plenty of size and color options to choose from, thousands of reviews, an Amazon’s Choice product, and almost all reviews are 5-star.


Photos that require attribution:

Lois Petit (JC Top Niveau) vs Sofie Stessens (JC Hirano Kasterlee) by Rik Vander Sanden is licensed under Public Domain and Braces by monica y garza is licensed under CC2.0 and both were cropped, edited, merged, and had a text overlay added

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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