Why Do Basketball Players Wear Mouthguards: Know Everything at One Stop

I know what made you search for this: “Why do basketball players wear mouthguards?” Your basketball spirit, nah? I bet it is. So, the answer is that basketball players wear mouthguards to avoid dental or jaw injuries. Also, to feel confident while playing with aggressive players. 

But that’s not all. From this article, you will learn what injuries can be avoided by the mouthguards, which players love to wear this protective gear, and who do not. Alongside all the things about this unsung superhero of the players. 

So why wait? Let’s delve into the following section and explore everything about “Why do basketball players wear mouthguards.’’

Why Do Basketball Players Wear Mouthguards?

Ah, what a question! It’s like asking people why they need water to live or why a warrior needs armor. Of course, it’s to save their teeth and mouth from injuries. 

As basketball is kind of a fast-paced game where every player is directly involved in intense physical activity, there is a chance of getting hit in the face with the ball or an elbow. That’s why many players choose to wear mouthguards to reduce the risk of losing their teeth and suffering jaw injuries. 

And when players wear mouthguards, they can engage in the game more confidently as they don’t have to worry as much about injuries. 

What Types Of Injuries Can Be Prevented By Wearing Mouthguards?

There are several types of injuries that can be saved by a single mouthguard. Yes, it’s like Superman standing alone against the whole destructive army.

Injuries like dental trauma, soft tissue or jaw injuries, along with concussions can be prevented by wearing a mouthguard.

Here are the clear explanations of some different injuries below that a lone mouthguard can toss and ensure that players stay on their path to success. 

1. Dental Trauma

Mouthguards generally absorb shocks. It is designed to protect the dental elements by reducing and transmitting the force of any kind of accidental hit from the elbow or the ball.

2. Jaw Injuries

The scariest moment for a basketball player is dealing with jaw dislocation. And this happens when a player ignores the mouthguard. 

Because this armor not only can save a player from jaw fractures but also lowers the risk of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders by providing support and stability to the joint of the jaw.

3. Soft Tissue Injuries

Mouthguards can easily escape soft tissue injuries. Cuts or bruises, lacerations to the lips or tongue, and gums can be avoided if a player uses this cape. Also, go through and know What To Do If Your Ankle Hurts From Basketball.

Do Mouthguards Protect Teeth? Facts on Avoiding Dental Injuries?

Why Do Basketball Players Wear Mouthguards

Yes, indeed, it does! A mouthguard is an authentic protective gear for the teeth. As I said before, it’s a shock absorber that soaks up the impact of elbow crashes, or any kind of face hits in a bit of a rough court game.

Talking about mouthguards, do you know that there are some facts on how mouthguards avoid dental injuries? If not, let’s take a look underneath and learn more about this helpful protector:

Avoid Tooth Displacement

A study says that if a player uses a mouthguard while playing basketball or any game, it reduces the risk of injuries by up to 90%. Journal of the  American Dental Association found that this safeguard of mouth is effective and reduces the chances of dental injuries by about 89% through absorbing the impacts when a ball or any hits come towards the player. 

Absorb Shock

Mouthguards are like soft cushions. They are made of soft and flexible materials. And those materials absorb the impact of the accidental blow and save the teeth from breaking or chipping. 

Distribute the Force Evenly

The core function of a mouthguard is to distribute the force of a blow evenly over the teeth. It fits snugly over the teeth and gums and stops the force from targeting any individual tooth.

What Are Mouthguards Made Of?

The mouthguards are mainly made with different thermoplastic materials, such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), polyethylene, silicone, or polyurethane. Each of them is rich in distinct qualities catering to different needs.

To learn more about these mouthguard materials, it’s worth digging into the following discussion.

1. EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)

The most commonly used material for mouthguards is EVA, which is a suitable option for spots like basketball. How? Well, its soft and flexible thermoplastic quality gives access to mold for an individual’s teeth using hot water. 

Besides, it provides the maximum comfort that helps to get a customized fit and a good user experience in the court.

2. Polyurethane

This mouthguard material falls under the section of durability and resistance to tearing. For this reason, when mouthguards are made of polyurethane, they give a long-lasting service. 

3. Silicone

Do you know why Silicon mouthguards are so popular? For their flexibility and hypoallergenic properties. It doesn’t cause allergies and can fight off the bacteria. Additionally, it gives its wearers a comfy feel.

How To Clean A Mouthguard In These Easy Steps?

How To Clean A Mouthguard In These Easy Steps

Cleaning a mouthguard is essential. Because an unclean mouthguard can spread germs, sometimes, it can reduce the life of the mouthguard. 

So, if you’re a player and use a mouthguard, you should clean your protective gear after every use. Don’t worry, it’s easy peasy! Just follow the easy steps below and make your mouthguard shine like a diamond.

Step 1: Immediate Rinse After Each Use

First, take clean and warm water and rinse your mouthguard into it immediately after using it. Warm water will remove the saliva, debris, or food particles from your mouthguard. 

Step 2: Use Soap

After cleaning in the warm water, just mix a clean container with warm water and mix mild soap. Dip your mouthguard in the soap water and gently clean it with a brush (a soft-bristled toothbrush is recommended). 

Step 3: Rinse Again

Once you have cleaned your mouthguard with the soap water, it’s time to rinse it again under the running water until it gets clean from the soap properly. Otherwise, you will be irritated by the soapy taste of your mouthguard.

Step 4: Dry in the Air

Now, the only thing left is drying your mouthguard. To do so, put your guard on a clean towel and leave for air dry. And don’t use any kind of heat source like a microwave or dishwasher to dry it up quickly. If you do, your mouthguard will lose its shape or protective properties. 

5. Store It in a Proper Place

After dring your mouthguard, store it in a clean and dry container that contains holes. It will prevent moisture and odor from building up. This is it! Your mouthguard is clean and clear. 

Are NBA Players Required To Wear Mouthguards?

The answer is no! There are no such specific rules for NBA players to wear mouthguards. But it is safe to wear one, and dentists recommend it highly. And if any player is wearing it, that means they are avoiding unwanted injuries that can cause a season off.

However, the National Basketball Association does have some guidelines for the players who choose to wear mouthguards. That is, mouthguards have to be a solid color, including white, black, transparent, or the team’s color. But those mouthguards can’t have a logo. 

Do Michael Jordan Use A Mouthguard?

Michale Jordan, a legend, the greatest player of all time, didn’t use to wear a mouthguard. And there is a reason behind it. What’s that? In his time, using mouthguards wasn’t a common practice. It was considered a cumbersome and uncomfortable matter.

But Michale Jordan preferred to chew gums while playing. He believed that it helped him to stay focused on the game rather than not getting thirsty quickly.

Does LeBron Play With A Mouthguard?

Yes! Lebron does wear a mouthguard while he plays basketball. He even made a custom-made mouthguard from Gladiator Guards for him and has been using it since 2010. 

Lebron used his popularity to raise awareness of the importance of oral health protection by wearing mouthguards by himself. And now, many young basketball players have started to wear this protective gear.

When Did NBA Players Start Wearing Mouthguards?

When Did NBA Players Start Wearing Mouthguards

Players of the NBA didn’t start to use the overnight. They gradually adopted this practice over the past few decades. Dick Perry, a standout player on the UCLA Bruins, is one of the players of the 1940s who started to use Mouthguards on a regular basis. 

In the 1950s, ADA began to research the benefits of wearing mouthguards in the field of sport. They found how effectively injuries can be avoided if a player uses this safeguard. 

Though, for the players of the 1960s-1970s, it still remained uncommon. They found it really unnecessary stuff. But in the 1980s-1990s, after several encounters with dental injuries of NBA players, everyone started to think about the significant need for oral protection.

And nowadays, nearly all the players wear mouthguards. High-profile players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry use a mouthguard consistently and influence many other players to use this, too. As like, they played an important role in normalizing the use of mouthguards.

Which NBA Players Wear Mouthguards?

Many high-profile NBA players chose mouthguards as their protective gear. Here is the 10 players list of the players who use mouthguards in every game:

  1. LeBron James 
  2. Stephen Curry 
  3. Kevin Durant 
  4. Giannis Antetokounmo
  5. Russel Westbrook 
  6. James Harden 
  7. Jimmy Butler 
  8. Draymond Green 
  9. Joe Embiid
  10. Nikola Jokic

Notable NBA Players Who Don’t Wear Mouthguards (And Lost Their Teeth)

Just as there are players in the NBA who wear mouthguards, there are also many players who don’t wear mouthguards and suffer many injuries.

Here are some notable NBA players who don’t wear Mouthguard and lost their teeth: 

1. Charles Barkley

He lost two of his front teeth in a collision with another player during the game and described later that it was a mistake for him not to use a mouthguard.

2. Dennis Rodman

If you ask me about one player who has faced tragic moments many times throughout his career, then I must mention Dennis Rodman. He lost several teeth, but he did sit on his decision of not wearing the mouthguard because he used to feel uncomfortable with it.

3. Scottie Pippen

In 1991, in the final of the NBA, Scottie Pippen chipped a tooth because he didn’t wear a mouthguard. He said he didn’t think it was necessary. 

Why do NBA Players Have Clear Mouthguards?

What I am going to say to you now may sound silly, but it’s true. And that is, the NBA players love to have clear mouthguards because they want to showcase their white teeth to fans and media after scoring.  

Besides, clear mouthguards are gum-friendly. They don’t irritate and offer a better fit than traditional rubber mouthguards. This is also a good reason for NBA players to have clear mouthguards.

How Easy is It to Run in a Mouthguard?

How Easy is It to Run in a Mouthguard

To be honest, running with a mouthguard might be a bit challenging for beginners. But once players get used to it, they feel nothing. Even they love to have that in their mouth. 

Running in a mouthguard is certainly manageable. It’s all about the oral health priority. And it’s pretty much easy when players choose the right mouthguard for them. In that case, choosing a lightweight mouthguard helps to run easily with it.  

Also, breathing practice is another fact that players do due to getting used to a mouthguard. 


Q: What happens if you don't wear a mouthguard while playing basketball?

A: If you don’t wear a mouthguard, then you have a great chance of losing your teeth. As basketball is a highly physically engaged game, doctors suggest wearing a mouthguard during the matches. 

Q: What is the importance of mouthguards?

A: Mouthguards are crucial when we are talking about high-impact activities like basketball. It can prevent dental and jaw injuries and gives players confidence. 

Q: Is wearing mouthguards for a long time cause any harm?

A: Yes! Sometimes it does! Wearing mouthguards for a long time may cause some issues like discomfort, difficulty speaking, or mild irritation. You can consult a specialist also for the mouthguard’s recommendations.


In conclusion, I hope you have your desired answer on why do basketball players wear mouthguards. And to give you the answer to that query, we have found that mouthguards are not only about protecting teeth; they are directly connected to the player’s career. Because it helps to escape oral injuries that often happen on the court and saves the players from accidental hits but also gives confidence. 

We have also covered the prominent players who wear mouthguards and who don’t and the consequences of having or not having mouthguards. Also, every possible aspect of wearing mouthguards. 

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