We have all heard, and secretly appreciate, the cheesy line “a women’s smile is the most beautiful curve of her body”. Whilst we may be more forgiving of our male counter parts for not taking pride in their Cheshire grin we on the other hand are naturally inclined to take care of smile and teeth. An important part of that is finding the right mouth guard also referred to as a gumshield.
Originally designed in 1890 by a Woolf Krause, a London dentist, the gum shield was originally created to be worn by boxers and made from a material called gutta-percha. Their purpose was to prevent lip lacerations which were a common injury of the sport at the time. Before this, boxers had been inventive by creating their own gumshields out of material including cotton, sponge and even wood.
Today, gumshield are often specifically made from a rubber-like mould which fits over your teeth and gum line offering cushioning and protection from impact inflicted from training, sparring or competing. It is essential for Boxers to wear a gumshield in competitions whether at a novice or elite level. Even in sparring it very rare that boxers can spar without a gum shield.
Whether a female or male boxer, a gumshield serves the same purpose and can help prevent broken teeth, reduce damage to the jaw and may reduce the chance of concussion by stabilising the head and neck. From as little as a couple pounds for a very basic version to custom made options available to purchase privately from a dentists there is a fully range of options which will match budget, level of experience and use.
Important considerations when purchasing a gumshield include:
- Fit: Some gumshields are chunkier in design providing greater protection at the cost of greater obstruction of your airway or a slimmer design with less protection but greater breathability
- Size: The majority of cheaper gumshields only offer one size but more expensive options offer a variety of sizes such as junior, senior, small, medium and large.
- Thickness: Similar to the fit the thickness of a gumshield may offer greater protection but at the risk of reducing breathability
- Colour: if you are planning on competing in boxing keep in mind a red or orange gum shields will not allowed to be worn in Amateur Boxing Competition or Tournaments in the UK.
- Cost: Consider how the investment you are making and consider how committed you are to pursuing training. Often novice or beginner boxer start with the basics of gumshield, gloves, wraps and then boots. By the time it comes that you are ready for your second set you may feel it appropriate to invest in a more expensive piece of kit or equipment.
If you already own a gumshield keep in mind:
- Hygiene: Throwing your gumshield in the kitbag with your sweaty gloves, wraps and other post training kit may not even pass your mind as an issue. However, the gym is often full of many other boxers, exercising and training in the gym make it a prime location for germs and bacteria to be spread. Be sure to wash your gumshield and hands before and after each use and keep it safe in a plastic box or bag.
- Avoid Nibbling: It can be easy to chew or crunch down on the ends of gumshields. This can damage the structure of the gumshield and reduces its durability.
- Replace regularly: A gum shield should be replaced every single to few seasons to ensure it provides ultimate protection
Look after your Pearlie's girlies.
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