One thing my darling mother has always been proud of is my teeth. At the ripe old age of 36, I’ve never had a filling and I didn’t need braces when I was a kid. So when I tell her I’m sparring at Combat Ready Gym, she insists that I go to my dentist like I did for my old rugby gum shield, and get a proper one fitted. “None of those cheap ones, okay boy?!” Yes, she still calls me “boy”. However, things have changed since my teenage days and now you can get a perfectly fitted mouthguard online with safejawz.com.
SAFEJAWZ offer good quality self-fit gumshields but where they excel is with their custom fit options. The day after contacting the UK-based company, my kit arrives. It consists of an impression tray, two pots of putty and a nicely designed set of instructions. After watching their instructional video, all I need to do is boil a kettle to loosen up the tray and mix the two pots of putty together before fitting the combination together. Then I line up my front teeth and bite hard for 2½ minutes. After this time, I have left a pretty good impression in the tray and send it back to them in the free post bag provided.
Not only will a properly fitted mouthguard protect my pearly whites, it will also double up as a shock absorber should I get clipped by my opponent. The clue is in the name of this company, as the mouthguard will protect my jaw and – almost as importantly – prevent me from accidentally biting my lower lip… which, I am ashamed to say, I am prone to do when I get too excited during certain combinations.
Now what I really love about SAFEJAWZ is that they provide an array of superb designs but also offer you the option of uploading your own text or artwork. If I had a cool nickname like some of the UFC fighters that they sponsor then I’d stick that on there. But alas, I don’t. My high school nickname is just not appropriate (or something I want to share here). So, after a lot of deliberation over what to have, I decide on the artwork from my favourite superhero of all time: Batman. I know The Joker is more relevant at the time of writing but I don’t want to go into a martial arts gym promoting the fact that I’m a goon. I get punched enough as it is.
When my mouthguard arrives, I am blown away. Back in my rugby playing days, you had two options: black or white. Today, I have a bespoke gumshield that fits like a glove and makes me feel like a superhero; now I just need to learn how to fight like one.
To get yourself a custom-made mouthguard from SAFEJAWZ, visit their website and start getting creative.
Photographs by John Harfield