why do nfl players wear mouthguards

why do nfl players wear mouthguards

Wearing mouthguards is a common practice among NFL players. This protective gear is essential for various reasons, ranging from preventing dental injuries to reducing the risk of concussions. In this article, we will explore the multiple benefits of mouthguards in the NFL and why players prioritize their use.

Dental Protection

Mouthguards serve as a crucial barrier between the teeth and the impact of forceful hits during NFL games. They help absorb and distribute the shock, reducing the risk of dental injuries such as broken teeth, fractured jaws, and lip lacerations. Furthermore, mouthguards provide cushioning that minimizes the impact on the jaw joint, preventing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) injuries.

Concussion Prevention

Mouthguards can also play a role in reducing the risk of concussions. While they do not directly prevent concussions, they can help by absorbing some of the impact forces transmitted through the jaw and skull. This additional layer of protection can potentially reduce the severity of head injuries and contribute to overall player safety.

Jaw Stability

why do nfl players wear mouthguards

Mouthguards offer stability to the jaw, preventing excessive movement during physical contact. By keeping the jaw in place, mouthguards help reduce the risk of jaw dislocation, which can be a painful and debilitating injury. Additionally, a stable jaw can improve a player’s breathing and overall performance on the field.

Facial Protection

Mouthguards cover the upper teeth and gums, providing a protective barrier for the lips, cheeks, and tongue. This protection is particularly important for players in positions that involve frequent contact, such as linemen and linebackers. By preventing direct blows to the soft tissues of the face, mouthguards help minimize the risk of cuts, bruises, and other facial injuries.

Improved Speech and Communication

Contrary to popular belief, wearing a mouthguard does not significantly hinder speech or communication on the field. While it may take some time for players to adjust to speaking with a mouthguard, the benefits of protection outweigh any temporary difficulties. Properly fitted mouthguards allow for clear communication, ensuring effective teamwork and coordination during games.

Psychological Confidence

Mouthguards can also provide psychological confidence to players. Knowing that their teeth, jaw, and face are protected can help players focus on their performance without worrying about potential injuries. This increased confidence can positively impact a player’s mindset and overall gameplay.

League Regulations

The NFL mandates the use of mouthguards for all players during games and practices. This regulation ensures player safety and consistency across the league. Players who fail to comply with this requirement may face penalties or fines, emphasizing the importance of mouthguard usage.

Customization and Comfort

Mouthguards can be custom-made to fit each player’s unique dental structure. Customization provides a more comfortable and secure fit, allowing players to breathe and speak more naturally. Comfortable mouthguards are more likely to be consistently worn, ensuring continuous protection throughout games and practices.


Mouthguards are an essential piece of protective gear for NFL players. They offer dental protection, aid in concussion prevention, stabilize the jaw, provide facial protection, improve speech and communication, boost psychological confidence, comply with league regulations, and can be customized for comfort. By wearing mouthguards, NFL players prioritize their safety and reduce the risk of injuries that could potentially hinder their performance and long-term oral health.

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