why don’t hockey players wear mouthguards

Hockey is a fast-paced and physical sport that involves intense physical contact and the use of sticks and pucks. Despite the risks involved, many hockey players do not wear mouthguards. This article aims to explore the reasons why hockey players choose not to wear mouthguards, considering various aspects such as comfort, communication, and perceived lack of necessity.

why don't hockey players wear mouthguards


One of the primary reasons why hockey players do not wear mouthguards is the issue of comfort. Mouthguards can be bulky and may restrict breathing, causing discomfort during intense physical activity. Some players find it difficult to speak or breathe properly with a mouthguard in place, which can affect their performance on the ice. Additionally, poorly fitted mouthguards can cause irritation and soreness in the gums and jaw, further discouraging players from wearing them.


Another factor that influences the decision to not wear mouthguards is communication. Hockey is a team sport that requires constant communication between players on the ice. Mouthguards can muffle speech and make it difficult for teammates to understand each other during gameplay. This can lead to miscommunication and ultimately impact the team’s performance. Some players prioritize effective communication over the potential risks associated with not wearing mouthguards.

Perceived Lack of Necessity

Many hockey players believe that the risk of dental injuries is relatively low compared to other sports, such as boxing or martial arts. They argue that the use of helmets and face shields already provides sufficient protection for their teeth. Additionally, some players may have never experienced a serious dental injury themselves or witnessed one among their teammates, leading them to believe that wearing a mouthguard is unnecessary.


The cost of mouthguards can also be a deterrent for some hockey players. Custom-fitted mouthguards, which offer the best protection and comfort, can be expensive. Players who are on a tight budget may opt for cheaper, less effective alternatives or decide to forgo wearing a mouthguard altogether. The perceived cost-benefit analysis may lead some players to prioritize other expenses over investing in a quality mouthguard.

Tradition and Culture

Hockey has a long-standing tradition and culture that may influence players’ decisions regarding mouthguard usage. In some leagues or teams, there may be a lack of emphasis on the importance of wearing mouthguards. Players may feel pressure to conform to the norms and expectations of their peers or coaches, even if it means disregarding their own safety. The influence of tradition and culture can be a powerful factor in shaping players’ behavior.

Professional Influence

Professional hockey players serve as role models for aspiring athletes. If professional players are not seen wearing mouthguards, it can influence younger players to follow suit. The lack of a consistent message from professional hockey leagues regarding mouthguard usage may contribute to the low adoption rate among amateur and recreational players. The influence of professionals can shape the behavior and attitudes of players at all levels of the sport.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, the decision to wear a mouthguard or not often comes down to personal preference. Some players simply do not like the feeling of having a mouthguard in their mouth and choose to take the risk of potential dental injuries. They may prioritize their comfort and freedom of movement over the potential consequences of not wearing a mouthguard. Personal preference plays a significant role in the choices made by individual hockey players.


While the use of mouthguards in hockey is recommended for the prevention of dental injuries, there are various reasons why many players choose not to wear them. Factors such as comfort, communication, perceived lack of necessity, cost, tradition, professional influence, and personal preference all contribute to the low adoption rate of mouthguards among hockey players. It is important to continue raising awareness about the benefits of mouthguard usage and provide players with comfortable and affordable options to encourage their use and ensure the safety of all hockey players.

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