Karate is a martial art that involves rigorous training, sparring, and self-defense situations. Needless to say, practicing karate involves purchasing and using the right gear. This is to ensure that you remain safe and protected during your practice and have the Peace of Mind knowing that vulnerable parts of your body remain safeguarded against accidental blows and injury.
The mouth guard is one of the most important safety measures that you can employ during karate practice. The mouth remains one of the most vulnerable parts of your body that is susceptible to injury due to accidental blows. For this reason, it is important that you look for the best mouth guard for karate you can find so that your practice can remain safe.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important characteristic properties that make up good mouth guards for karate and then review some products that we recommend highly.
Table of Contents
Understanding Mouth Guards
Before going ahead, it is important for you to understand how mouth guards work and why you need them during practice. Let us take a look at how mouth guards for karate help prevent injury, the different kinds of mouth guards that are available in the market, and what to look for in a mouth guard before purchase.
How Mouth Guards Prevent Injury
Karate practice can involve getting kicked or hit in the face quite a bit. Every time this happens, there is a shockwave that originates from the point of impact and gets carried through the jaw to the rest of the head. If the impact happens directly on the mouth, there is a danger of teeth getting fractured or being uprooted.
For example, if your mouth is hit by an uppercut or a kick that rises from a lower height, your teeth can actually slam together with the bottom teeth pushing the upper teeth from below. In situations like these, the force can actually result in a complete fracturing of the lower jaw. The impact and the shockwave that results from it can also cause serious brain injury.
This is where mouth guards can help by absorbing the brunt of the impact and distributing the energy throughout a very large surface area. This can help mitigate the shockwaves and significantly lessen the amount of force that is felt in a particular area.
Therefore, mouth guards have the potential of reducing the severity of trauma and injuries even if you are punched by Mike Tyson in his prime or a current heavyweight boxer which is not something anyone wants to experience (we all saw Hangover!). Also, the outer cushion area of the mouth guard can prevent the top and bottom rows of teeth from slamming together, thereby preventing fractures.
At the very least, injuries to the teeth and jaw can be prevented through the use of mouth guards. They can also be a useful tool in preventing concussions as they absorb a lot of the shockwaves from every impact, preventing them from traveling and reaching the brain. In short, here are five ways that mouth guards can protect you during karate practice and sparring:
- Creating a cushion to protect the teeth from impact
- Protecting the soft tissue in the face and mouth
- Protecting the jaw joint from injury
- Protecting the neck by providing support to the head
- Contribution to head protection and the prevention of concussions
Overall, this means that using a mouth guard can be one of the best decisions you can make to keep yourself safe during karate practice and sparring sessions.
Different Types of Mouth Guards for Karate
When you are looking to buy a mouth guard for karate, you basically have three choices. You can buy a stock, off the shelf mouth guard, opt for a boil-and-bite style mouth guard, or have one custom made for yourself.
Stock– Stock mouth guards are made for preexisting sizes and can come in different ones. These are usually made in separate sets of sizes for children and adults. You can buy the size that matches yours the most closely. However, stock mouth guards are unlikely to provide a perfect fit.
Boil-and-bite– A Step up from stock mouth guards is the boil-and-bite variety. These do not come in any particular shape or size. Rather, you have to boil these mouth guards in water and then bite into them, applying gentle pressure until it shapes and forms itself around your teeth. These provide a much better custom fit for your mouth and are consequently more expensive generally than stock options.
Custom– These mouth guards are custom made specifically for the shape of your mouth. Since they are custom made for exactly the right fit, these can offer the best kind of protection. While the previous types of mouth guards can be good fits for practice and light sparring, custom made mouth guards are usually the most prudent choice for competitions and hard sparring.
Choosing a Mouth Guard
There are many things you need to consider while choosing a mouth guard for purchase. Here are some important parameters:
Fit– The one thing to watch out for before buying a mouth guard is the proper fit. A mouth guard that does not properly fit can actually contribute to causing more damage while one that is too tight can be extremely uncomfortable. The proper fit is usually mostly a problem when purchasing a stock mouth guard. If you are going for a boil-and-bite style guard or getting one custom made, you need to give it some time and make notes about the fit to understand if it needs corrections.
Protection– A thick mouth guard can definitely provide better protection. However, it can also cause difficulties with breathing and drinking. Therefore, you need to strike that perfect balance between thickness and usability.
Design– There can be a substantial variety of designs in mouth guards. Some are clearly practical while others are meant to make more of a style statement. It is important to always prioritize the quality of fit and protection over style.
Product Shootout- Best Mouth Guards for Karate
Sisu 1.6 Aero
The Sisu brand is established and respected when it comes to mouth guards. These guards are well-known for providing excellent protection while not being bulky in size. The Sisu 1.6 Aero represents a fine balance between the fit and protection of a traditional boil-and-bite style guard and a custom dentist guard. Easy to put on, it can allow for easy talking, breathing, and drinking while preventing any compromise with protection.
It is important to remember that these are more tuned for practice and light sparring than competition. However, Sisu also contributes to peace of mind by offering reimbursement of dental bills up to $35,000 (which is a lot of money even in a low tax 3% GDP economy) if you do damage your teeth while using the product.
- Low-profile and easy to use
- Good impact resistance
- Durable and long-lasting
- Easy to breathe, talk, and drink
- Reimbursement cover for dental injuries
- Can be hard to fit when cold
- Molding take effort
- Can be uncomfortable if not correctly molded
Shock Doctor Gel Max
The Shock Doctor brand is particularly well-known and a popular choice for practitioners of many martial arts. The Gel Max makes use of their patented gel-fit guard liner that makes it extremely easy to find the right fit for your teeth. The patented exoskeletal shock frame features tough, durable construction using heavy-duty rubber, making sure that initial impact protection is on point.
This is a boil-and-bite style mouthguard, which means that if you cannot get the perfect fit the first time even after following the meticulous included instructions, you can redo your mistakes and try again.
- Excellent protection
- Easy to mold
- Hard exterior provides impact defense
- Detailed instructions
- Easy to redo mistakes in molding
- It can take a few tries to get the right fit
- A little bulky
- Can make breathing difficult for fatigued athletes
The Venum brand has been trusted by martial arts practitioners for many years and the Challenger is one of their most popular products. This is a boil-and-bite style mouth guard with a number of advanced features that makes it easy to use and amps up the protection even if your child is practicing karate is against Kramer but this is another topic!
This mouth guard features their patented Nextfit gel frame design, making it easy to carry out small adjustments to the fit and really get it tailored to be comfortable on the teeth. The size and design of the mouth guard also makes it really easy to talk, breathe, and drink during those heavy sparring sessions and competitive events.
Another neat feature is a breathing channel in the center of the mouth guard that aids in breathing during heavy activity. The mouth guard comes with a carrying case.
- Patented design for excellent fit and protection
- Breathing channel for better breathing under strain
- Easy to fix fitting mistakes
- Comes with carrying case
- Some users might find it small in size
If you are looking for a budget option from a reputed, respected brand, the Venum Predator ticks all the right boxes. This mouth guard represents great value for money, featuring a single side design with a tough, durable outer shell and a soft, moldable inner lining for excellent comfort and safety.
The USP of this mouth guard is a third layer in the middle that is made from special material that reduces and dampens impact. This boil-and-bite style mouth guard also comes with a convenient carrying case.
- Three-layer design with a special impact absorbing layer in the middle
- Great value for money
- Comes with an included carrying case
- Some users may find it large and bulky
- Might make drinking and breathing difficult for users with small mouths
If you are looking for a truly budget mouth guard that nevertheless provides solid protection, the Sanabul Single can be a wise choice. Sanabul is a reputed brand preferred by many athletes across different martial arts disciplines.
This mouth guard features good quality of materials and a simple boil-and-bite design, allowing for incremental molding over time to ensure a really good fit. The unit is also available in a variety of color options and includes a carrying case. The low price can really make this an attractive choice for those seeking an entry-level option.
- Excellent protection on a budget
- Available in a variety of colors
- Comes with a carrying case
- Might seem large and bulky for some users
- Manual trimming might be required for a better fit
Impact Custom Professional
If you are looking for a truly custom mouth guard that offers the best in terms of protection, fit, and comfort, look no further. The Impact Custom Professional is a premium choice that can come in handy in hard sparring and competitive events. Once you order this unit, the company sends you a molding kit that creates a perfect mold of your teeth.
This mold can then be sent back to the company where they use it to create your completely custom mouth guard using safe, BPA-free plastics and custom thickness numbers according to your needs.
The thick, durable material of the mouth guard can be a reassuring presence in the mouth and the custom build ensures a tight, comfortable fit with virtually no small movements while in the mouth. Breathing, talking, and drinking are all easily accomplished, and the product comes with a carrying case.
- Detailed molding process for producing an exact custom fit for your mouth
- Excellent quality of materials
- Easy breathing, talking, and drinking during competition
- Convenient carrying case
- Choice of three molding size trays
- The molding process can be a bit tricky and awkward
- The product takes a while to reach you
Your Call; Your Choice
The importance of using a mouth guard during therapy practice, sparring, and competition cannot be overstated. This is essential protection that can make a difference to your concentration and Peace of Mind during your quest for supremacy in this popular martial art form. Understanding the qualities that can make the perfect mouth guard for your particular use case is crucial before you take a look at the market and choose the right product for your needs.
If you are looking for a budget option that can still provide excellent protection, the Venum Predator can be an excellent choice, coming in handy both in sparring sessions and in light competitive events. However, our recommendation as the overall winner and this shootout, representing an excellent balance between price, performance, comfort, and value is the Venum Challenger.
We hope that you can have a much easier time choosing the right mouth guard for your karate career with the information we have provided and the products we have recommended.