Why Mouthguards Matter in Ice Hockey

Hockey is a much loved sport, played by over 1.5 million people around the world each year. It’s fast paced and challenging, but unfortunately without the right protection—mouthguards included—it can also be dangerous.

Before introducing full facemasks and helmets, head injuries accounted for

%

of all serious ice hockey injuries.
Ice hockey sticks cause roughly

%

of dental injuries suffered whilst playing the sport.
Hockey Players have at least a

%

risk of sustaining an injury each year they play.

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A Brief History of Face and Mouth Protection in Ice Hockey

In the early days of the good old hockey game, players didn’t rely on too much protective equipment. As the games got faster and the hits harder, however, the need to wear the right defensive gear like padding, helmets, facemasks, and mouthguards has also increased.

Here’s a quick look at how face and mouth protection norms have changed amongst hockey players over the years.

How Full Facemasks Changed the Game

The first professional player to don a facemask was Clint Benedict, goalie for the Montreal Maroons, who took a puck to the face in January 1930 that sidelined him for a number of weeks. When he finally returned for a game against the New York Rangers, he was wearing what looked like a sparring mask boxers used to cover their noses.

Unfortunately the protect-your-face trend didn’t stick right away. Benedict stopped wearing his mask soon after, and players (goalies in particular) continued to go without face protection for almost three decades.

The watershed moment came on 1 November 1959 when a puck hit Jacques Plante, goalie for the Montreal Canadians, in his nose and broke it. He left the ice to have his face stitched up and refused to return until he had face protection. Plante went on to design goaltender masks for himself and others, helping to introduce them as everyday equipment and pave the way for them to ultimately become mandatory.

The Role Mouthguards Play in Keeping Hockey Players Safe

Here’s something to think about: a typical hockey puck weighs about 170 grams and can move at speeds of around 170km/h.

That can do a lot of damage should your teeth unfortunately happen to be in its way.

The first hockey mouthguard was, to little surprise, invented by a Canadian in the 1950s. Arthur Wood was both a coach for the Cooksville Hockey Association and a practicing dentist who was dismayed by how many hockey playing children he saw on a regular basis with missing or broken teeth. Along with fellow coach Charlie Patterson, he created a mouthguard for hockey players and went on to make mouthguards mandatory when he became the head of the Cooksville Hockey Association.

Today, mouthguards are commonly used by hockey players of all ages and skill levels. Often they are a required piece of equipment, but when they are not most players still wear one. 90% of National Hockey League (NHL) players, for example, choose to use mouthguards even though the NHL doesn’t mandate them.

Athlete Profiles

Sidney Crosby, Sid the Kid, is one of Canada’s most beloved players. Unfortunately, his teeth have taken more than their fair share of hits over his career.

During his first game with the Philadelphia Flyers in November 2005, Crosby took a high stick to the mouth from defenseman Derian Hatcher that broke three of his teeth. He suffered another devastating slap shot to the face in 2013 that broke his jaw, shattered ten teeth, and took him out of the game for two months. Again in 2017, he lost a few teeth to a high stick from the Sabres’ Evander Kane.

Click here to watch the video

During a game in May 2017, Habs goalie Carey Price took a skate to the mask from defenseman Jarred Tinordi that knocked out one of his teeth. The game was paused briefly while Price skated across the ice and calmly handed it to an official on the side before getting back in net to finish the game.

Click here to watch the video

Injuries aren’t reserved for the pros alone. They can happen to anyone regardless of how often you play or the level you are at.

Tuomas Perälä, our distribution partner in Finland and avid hockey player, got hit in the mouth with a puck during a recent game. Fortunately, he was wearing a TEPHRA MAX™ when it happened. Though the cut on his lip needed a few stitches, all of his teeth were unharmed thanks to his TEPHRA MAX™ mouthguard.

Which Makura Mouthguard Is Best for Ice Hockey Players?

The answer to this question isn’t always the most straightforward because, at the end of the day, the right mouthguard is the one that fits you the best.

That being said, there are some characteristics you can keep an eye out for when choosing a ice hockey mouthguard:

Fit

A properly fitted mouthguard keeps wearers both comfortable and safe. A mouthguard that fits well will remain securely in place (no clenching required to hold it) even if you jostle it a bit with your tongue and won’t make you gag, prevent you from speaking, or inhibit breathing in any way.

Certification

As part of the CE approval process, mouthguards must be impact tested by an independent third party. All Makura mouthguards are fully CE certified and have achieved Level 2 and Level 3 Impact Resistance. Our BOIL & BITE™ TEPHRA MAX™ is Level 3 Impact Resistant, the highest level achievable for mouth-adapted mouthguards, and our braces-compatible LITHOS PRO™ is Level 2 Impact Resistant, which is the highest attainable level for ready-made mouthguards.

Features

Look for straps you can easily attach to and remove from your helmet, as well as things like gel-based and flexible liners, shock-absorbing outers, and more that are suited to the game you play and how you play it.  If you have braces, make sure you choose a braces-compatible mouthguard to keep both you and your braces safe from harm.

Compare Makura Mouthguards

TEPHRA MAX™

  • Comes with a removable strap you can use to attach your mouthguard to your helmet.
  • Boasts the highest level of impact resistance (Level 3) attainable for mouth-adapted mouthguards.
  • Features a SHOKBLOKER™ outer, FLEXICORE™ inner, and GELFORM™ liner for unparalleled shock absorption and comfort.
  • CE approved and certified.
IGNIS™

  • Comes with a removable strap you can use to attach your mouthguard to your helmet.
  • Is Level 2 impact resistant.
  • Features a SHOKBLOKER™ outer and GELFORM™ liner for maximum protection.
  • CE approved and certified.
  • Available in two sizes—senior (ages 11 and over) and junior (ages 10 and under)—and up to nine colour combinations.
LITHOS™

  • Comes with a removable strap you can use to attach your mouthguard to your helmet.
  • Is Level 2 impact resistant, the highest achievable for ready-made mouthguards.
  • The ORTHO Channel fits over fixed braces for a secure fit.
  • Features a SHOKBLOKER™ body for maximum shock absorption and SLIPSAFE pads that prevent it from
TOKA™

  • Available in a convertible version that comes with a strap you can use to attach your mouthguard to your helmet. The strap is fully detachable, so you can also wear your mouthguard without it if preferred.
  • The TOKA™ is Level 2 Impact Resistant.
  • The SHOKBLOKER™ outer keeps players safe, while the BOIL & BITE™ fit ensures uncompromised comfort.
  • CE approved and certified.
  • Available in two sizes—senior (ages 11 and over) and junior (ages 10 and under)—and six colour combinations.
KYRO PRO™

  • Available in strapped and strapless versions.
  • Made with a tough SHOKBLOKER™ outer, AIRTHRU channel, and SLIPSAFE pads.
  • Available in two sizes—junior (ages 10 and under) and senior (ages 11 and over)—and two colours, clear and black.