Why Do Basketball Players Wear Mouthguards (Real Answer)

If you’ve ever watched NBA games or the NCAA, you may have noticed that players almost always wear mouthguards during games.

But why exactly do basketball players wear mouthguards?

Basketball players wear mouthguards primarily to protect their teeth from being chipped or broken. They also prevent major facial injuries and provide minor benefits like increased focus, keeping breath fresh, and preventing dry mouth.

If you want to learn more about this, then let’s dive in.

Why do Basketball Players Wear Mouthguards?

There are numerous reasons why basketball players wear mouthguards. Let’s break down each of them.

1. Prevent Chipped Teeth

Wearing a mouthguard is a great way to prevent chipped teeth and other dental injuries that can occur during basketball. If you happen to get hit in the mouth during a play, it’s possible for some of your teeth to chip or break.

No one wants to chip a tooth, but if you wear a mouthguard, you can help to prevent these kinds of injuries. Chipped teeth can be painful and even cause infections, so it’s best to take preventive action.

If you do chip a tooth while playing basketball and don’t wear a mouthguard, you can chip a second tooth during the next play. Likewise, you could break a third tooth if the ball comes your way again.

So, it’s best to wear a mouthguard to prevent these types of dental injuries from happening in the first place.

2. Reduce the Risk of Earning a Facial Fracture

Wearing a mouthguard is also a great way to reduce the risk of earning a facial fracture. Certain moves that you make during the course of a basketball game can result in a facial fracture.

If you don’t wear a mouthguard, you could put yourself at risk of earning a fracture if you get hit in the face with the basketball.

A basketball at full speed can easily break your nose or cause a cheek fracture if you don’t wear a mouthguard. Thus, wearing a mouthguard is a great way to help prevent facial fractures during the course of a game.

Players who don’t wear a mouthguard are at a higher risk of earning a facial fracture than those who do.

Not only will you protect yourself with a mouthguard, but you’ll also be protecting your teammates from getting hit with the ball. That’s one less thing that you have to worry about during a game.

3. Keep Your Breath Fresh

While this may not be a crucial reason to wear a mouthguard, it’s still a positive side effect of doing so. Wearing a mouthguard can help to keep your breath fresh between plays and at halftime.

If you don’t wear a mouthguard, it’s easy to get dehydrated and develop bad breath as a result of playing basketball. Wearing a mouthguard can help to prevent bad breath because it keeps your mouth moist.

If your mouth gets dry while playing basketball, it’s easy for bacteria to grow. As your saliva evaporates, it leaves your mouth susceptible to bacterial growth.

This can lead to bad breath, which is why it’s important to keep your mouth moist while playing.

4. Maintain Good Oral Health

Wearing a mouthguard is a great way to maintain good oral health. When you play basketball without a mouthguard, you risk damaging your teeth and gums. You may even develop bacteria that could lead to gum disease if you don’t take care of your teeth.

Wearing a mouthguard, however, can help you to prevent these issues from developing. Basketball puts a lot of pressure on your teeth, and it’s very easy for them to become chipped or broken if you don’t take care of them.

Wearing a mouthguard is the best way to take care of your teeth while playing basketball.

5. Show You’re Committed to Safety and Wellness

Wearing a mouthguard is a great way to show that you’re committed to your own safety and the safety of your teammates. It signals to the rest of the players on your team that you are committed to wearing the best protective equipment available.

This can help players on your team feel safer while playing. If you play basketball and don’t wear a mouthguard, you could be putting yourself at risk of earning a dental injury.

You could also be putting your teammates at risk of sustaining a dental injury if you accidentally hit them with the ball and cause damage to their teeth

Is it Required for NBA Players to Wear Mouthguards?

No, there isn’t any rule in the NBA that states that players are required to wear mouthguards. But they’re highly encouraged to do so since it’s protection against potential injuries.

Today, not all NBA players wear mouthguards since it’s entirely their choice. But most players are wise enough to take care of their body and their mouth is a part of it.  

Other major leagues have their own rules when it comes to mouthguards. Most don’t require players but they also encourage them to do so.

Why do Some Players Chew Their Mouthguards?

You’ve probably seen NBA players such as Steph Curry chew their mouthguards. In fact, it’s become one of his most noticeable habits over the years!

But why exactly do they do this? There are a couple of reasons.

The most probable one is that they’ve developed this as a habit. You might also know that players love to chew gum during games.

But since you can’t easily chew gum with a mouthguard on, it became the alternative.

Another reason is that it’s a stress reliever. It helps players relieve some of the stress of close games.

Fun fact: Steph Curry’s mouthguard is actually flavored! He regularly uses the MOGO M1 which comes in different flavors such as blueberry, orange, and peppermint.

How Much is a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards are just like any basketball apparel. They also vary in cost depending on the brand, type, benefits, and other features.

But most mouthguards cost anywhere from $5 – $100.

Of course, you can expect NBA players’ mouthguards to range from hundreds to even thousands of dollars.

Most of the time, they even customize it to fit snuggly in their mouth and to add different features.   

Can you Still Play Basketball Without a Mouthguard?

Yes, you can still play basketball even competitively without a mouthguard. It’s just an added protection that can be costly for a lot of players.

An alternative that can provide some benefits of a mouthguard is gum. While it can’t protect you from mouth injuries and chipped teeth, it can make you more focused and prevent dry mouth.


Wearing a mouthguard when you play basketball is a smart decision. It’s an easy way to protect yourself from dental injuries and other dental issues.

Moreover, it’s a great way to show your commitment to your own health and the health of your fellow basketball players. A mouthguard is a vital piece of protective equipment that every basketball player should use during a game.

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