It’s a knockout! Dental trauma in boxing – Neil Photay

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  Posted by: Dental Design      3rd July 2018

Throughout the last few years, boxing has transformed into one of the UK’s most exciting sports. With sell-out arena matches and celebrity boxers from our hometowns becoming the new norm, the popularity of the sport has progressed leaps and bounds from when it first became recognised as an official sport in 1867.[i]

With the appeal of fame and fortune, it’s obvious why boxing has seen such an increase in participants and funding in recent times, and Sport England have invested £2,835,366 into new boxing schemes in the past year to help diversify and maintain this level of commitment.[ii]

These rising figures offer one downside, however – the possibility of more dental trauma cases. As more people take to the ring to enjoy the gentleman’s sport, dentists in practices across the UK are increasingly likely to see associated dental injuries unless they prescribe the necessary protection.

What danger of dental trauma does boxing present?

A punch from a regular person to the dental region is damaging enough, but being on the receiving end of repetitive impacts from a professional who has honed their combative abilities can be devastating.

One study conducted by engineers at the University of Manchester decided to test the impact force and speed of punches performed by Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, a professional UK boxer. Recordings found that he was capable of delivering punches at an average speed of 25mph, with some blistering blows registering 32mph. As well as being lightning fast, these impacts had incredible power behind them, with one blow registering 400kg (nearly half a tonne) of instantaneous force.[iii]

With power like that present in the ring it’s little surprise that research has found that boxers experience very high levels of dental trauma. A group study of 338 amateur boxers found that 35.9% of participants had suffered dental trauma of some kind, and that a further 36.5% of them had witnessed dental trauma during training or matches.[iv]

Another study that explored facial injuries in boxing alongside Muay Thai, taekwondo and kickboxing showed that, out of 120 participants, 95 received at least one traumatic injury to the face, including 59.7% of them receiving fractures to their teeth.[v]Other injuries including the sublaxation of teeth, avulsion and soft tissue lacerations were also reported, and out of all of the boxers participating in the study, it was found that almost half had received dental injuries of some kind.


Mouth guard awareness

A study assessing boxers and people who practise taekwondo found that even though over 80% of them felt they were aware of and educated on the importance of mouth guards, only 55.8% wore them – all of which were the readily available boil and bite variety.[vi]Another study revealed that although an impressive 93.7% of participating boxers wore a mouth guard, only 5.7% had theirs custom-made, showing that more steps need to be taken to ensure that participants of combative sports are aware of which mouth guards offer the most benefits.


Which mouth guards are best? 

Any type of mouth guard is better than no protection at all,[vii]but in a high impact sport like boxing where the dangers of dental trauma are substantial, it makes sense to provide patients with a solution that can really help.

Custom-made mouth guards, especially those of the pressure-laminate variety, have been proven to offer the best protection for people who compete in combative sports.[viii]This is because they mould to the exact shape of the wearer’s teeth, offering better support and shock absorbency as well as a much better fit.

A market leading custom-made mouth guard, Saber Protect from CosTech Dental Laboratory has a number of features that ensure it offers the best protection available for boxers. Scientifically designed to disperse and soften impact force and prevent it from travelling to the head in full power, the mouth guards provide tailored shock absorbency levels that can make the difference between a KO and knock out of a very different variety for patient’s teeth.


Keep them fighting fit

Boxing is already a sport that offers considerable dangers to participants’ general health. By recommending a custom-fabricated mouth guard and making patients aware of the dangers that boxing entails, you can help reduce the risk of dental trauma and keep them fighting for longer.

After all, avulsion and other dental injuries can lead to a lifetime of problems and boxers, especially those who compete regularly at professional levels, should be made aware that safety comes first. In many ways, a mouth guard is the most important piece of equipment of all.


For more information about CosTech Dental Laboratory, please visit call 01474 320076





[i]Rafael, D. (2016). Thriving Boxing Never Bigger in the United Kingdom. ESPN. Link:[Last accessed Feb18].


[ii]Sport England. Latest Funding to Keep the Nation Active. Link: [Last accessed Feb18].


[iii] The University of Manchester. Engineers Prove That ‘Hitman’ Hatton Packs a Mighty Punch. Link:–hitman–hatton-packs-a-mighty-punch/ [Last accessed Feb18].


[iv]Emerich, K., Nadolska-Gazda, E. (2013). Dental Trauma, Prevention and Knowledge Concerning Dental First-Aid Among Polish Amateur Boxers. J Sci Med Sport Volume 16 (4), pages 297-301.


[v] Shirani, G., Motamedi, M., Ashuri, A. Eshkevari, P. (2010). Prevalence and Patterns of Combat Sport Related Maxillofacial Injuries. J Emerg. Trauma Shock Volume 3(4), pages 314-317.


[vi]Tulunoglu, I., Ozbek, M. (2006). Oral Trauma, Mouthguard Awareness, and Use in Two Contact Sports in Turkey. Dent Traumatol Volume 22 (5), pages 242-246.

[vii]De Wet, F., Heynes, M., Pretorius, J. (1999). Shock Absorption Potential of Different Mouth Guard Materials. J Prosthet Dent. Volume 82(3), pages 301-306.


[viii] Newsome, P., Tran, D., Cooke, M. (2001). The Role of the Mouthguard in the Prevention of Sports-Related Dental injuries: A Review. Int J Paediatr Dent. Volume 11(6), pages 396-404.


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