Can You Do Judo With Braces?

You have just spent thousands of dollars on your braces and are hoping your teeth will be permanently realigned. The only issue is you are also obsessed with Judo. Can you balance having straight teeth with your love of Judo?

Can you do Judo with braces? Yes, you can do Judo with braces as long as you get a specifically fit mouthguard made from your dentist and you wear your mouthguard at all times during Judo training and competition. Even though contact to the mouth is rare in Judo to protect your teeth wear a mouthguard and your new smile should be maintained.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Wearing A Mouthguard During Judo?


  • Reduced risk of Dental Injuries – Studies have shown that athletes that wear a mouthguard are up to 1.9 times less likely to hurt their teeth than athletes who don’t wear a mouthguard
  • Reduce risk of Concussions – Mouthguards stabilize the neck and jaw, this prevents your neck from moving during contact which reduces the chance of you suffering from whiplash and a concussion,
  • Cool Accessory – You can choose to get a custom mouthguard in whatever color you like, you can even get personalized inscriptions on your mouthguard
  • Train Carefree – If you wear a mouthguard during training you don’t have to deal with that ever present fear that you could get hit in the mouth and be left with a mangled face and a hefty dental bill


  • Uncomfortable – Mouthguards do not feel very comfortable, it can cause a choking sensation or rub against the inside of your mouth, even if you get a custom fitted mouthguard from your dentist it still will feel significantly more uncomfortable than training without a mouthguard
  • Breathing – It is harder to breathe while wearing a mouthguard, your mouth will adapt however your oxygen intake will still be negatively effected
  • Injuries – A poor fitted mouthguard or one that has been damaged can cause ulcers and lesions in your mouth as it rubs and cuts your gums and the inside your mouth, these cuts can be very painful and can easily become infected as the saliva in your mouth slows down the recovery process
  • Expensive – You can purchase a cheap mouthguard online or from a pharmacy for $20-$30, however if you want to get a dental mouthguard you can be looking at $100-$200, not everyone can afford that
  • Another piece of Equipment – A mouthguard is just another piece of training gear that you need to remember to take with you, clean and maintain, if you are constantly losing and forgetting things this can be another cause of anxiety and stress

Will Training Judo With Braces Hurt My Teeth?

The chances of you hurting your teeth while training Judo is very low. I know many people who trained for years while wearing braces, many didn’t even wear mouthguards and they never suffered an injury. I did see at training once that during Ne Waza a boy managed to get his braces hooked on the sleeve of his training partner’s sleeve. Fortunately, his training partner stopped before the boy’s braces were ripped out and the boy suffered no damage to his teeth. To reduce the risk of injuring your teeth from low to extremely low just simply wear a mouthguard.

Do I Need A Mouthguard To Train Judo If I Have Braces?

You do not need a mouthguard to train Judo as the chance of you receiving a blow to the mouth is low. However, as you probably spent a lot of money on your braces and you value your teeth you should wear a mouthguard to reduce the chance of any dental injury. A mouthguard can also give you peace of mind when you train as you don’t need to be constantly paranoid about being struck in the mouth as your mouthguard will protect you and your smile.

How Effective Are Mouthguards In Preventing Teeth Injuries During Judo?

In 2007 a  systematic review of the literature relating to dental injuries during sporting contests and the effectiveness of mouthguards in reducing dental injuries was undertaken. The study found that the chance of suffering a dental injury was 1.6–1.9 times less when an athlete wore a mouthguard compared to when they did not. As you can see mouthguards are highly effective and will substantially lower your chance of hurting your teeth during Judo.

What Mouthguard Should I Buy For Judo?

If you don’t have braces then you are fine wearing a boil and bite mouthguard. They allow you to customize the mouthguard to fit your mouth. This makes the mouthguard much more comfortable and prevents the mouthguard from moving during Judo, increasing the protection it offers you. There are many boil and bite options on Amazon, you can find them for $10 or less.

You should avoid mouthguards that do not mold to your teeth as these will be uncomfortable as they will not fit you as well. The lack of fit will increase your breathing difficulty and may cause cuts as the mouthguard will likely rub against your gums.

If you have braces you should go to a dentist and get a mouthguard specially made for your braces. Even though this may be more costly than an off the shelf mouthguard you can be assured that this is the best option. You don’t want to spend $3000 + on your braces only to mess them up because you didn’t want to pay $100 for a properly fitted mouthguard from your dentist. A mouthguard made specially for you will be comfortable to wear, will not move and will not rub against your gums. If you want to maximize the protection of your teeth then go to your dentist and get a proper mouthguard made.


If you have just gotten braces and are convinced you have to give up Judo, just wait a second. You can still train Judo with braces. You just need to take extra care of your teeth by wearing a mouthguard at all times during competition and training. It is recommended you go to a dentist and get a mouthguard made as these will not damage your braces, will be more comfortable to wear and offer you the highest amount of protection. Good luck with your teeth and your Judo career!

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