Rugby

Why Mouthguards Matter in Rugby

Rugby is a tough sport. It’s fast, physical, and challenging—a combination of traits that makes it thrilling to play and watch. Given how demanding it is, player safety must be made a priority. In addition to pads and scrum caps, one of the most important tools players can keep in their personal protection arsenal is a well-fitted mouthguard.

Over

%

of rugby union players sustain orofacial traumas and injuries.

New Zealand saw a

%

decrease in dental claims after mandating the use of mouthguards.

Using a mouthguard can reduce the risk by up to

%

that a player will damage their front teeth.

A Brief History of Mouthguards in Rugby

The earliest mouthguards were used by boxers in the twentieth century and made with a variety of materials including cotton, sponge, and even wood. They became more commonplace after the McTigue-Sharkey fight of 1927 that saw McTigue, the clear frontrunner, forfeit prematurely due to a severely chipped tooth and gashed front lip.

This initial acceptance among boxers opened doors for mouthguard use in other contact sports, a shift that has significantly improved player safety. In American football for example, over 50% of all injuries prior to the 1950s involved players’ teeth. Rates of dental injuries among football players nowadays have plummeted to less than 3%.

Today, whether or not mouthguards are required in rugby depends on a large extent on where you play:

Even if your team’s rules don’t require you to wear a mouthguard during play, you can still take your safety into your own hands (or mouth) by choosing to use a mouthguard. Remember, dental and orofacial injuries don’t affect star players alone. They can happen to anyone, which is why you must always keep yourself protected by wearing a mouthguard.

Player Profiles

For Australian James Stannard, what started as a simple tackle during the London Rugby Sevens would turn into an unanticipated trip to the dentist’s office.
The drama unfolded during Australia’s game against the USA when Stannard went to tackle Martin Iosefo. As Stannard crunched in, real-time camera footage caught Stannard’s tooth flying out of his mouth. Another player was lucky enough to stumble across the tooth and passed it back to Stannard. Stannard, unsure of what to do, approached the referee Craig Joubert and asked Joubert to keep it safe for him.

Joubert’s microphone caught his surprised response. “No, I’m not going to put it in my pocket.”

Fortunately a member of the Australian management stepped in to take the tooth from Stannard, putting it in his pocket for safekeeping so that Stannard could finish his game.

Leigh Halfpenny is beloved by his fans for many things including his skill, sportsmanship, and strength. One extra attribute he has picked up over the years, however, is a uniquely toothless smile.

Halfpenny was interviewed after kicking his team to the European Champions Cup final in 2015, and it became quite clear quite quickly that something wasn’t right.

Halfpenny was missing a tooth.

“It’s my false one, it is,” he replied when presenter Alex Payne posed the question.

Unfortunately for Halfpenny, his dental drama didn’t end there. After Toulon’s winning championship match against

Clermont, Halfpenny’s teammate Matt Giteau posted a picture on Twitter with the caption “He’s given a little extra again for the game.. Now he smiles like a piano.” Halfpenny, standing beside Giteau, is now down a second tooth.

Click here to learn more about Halfpenny’s first missing tooth and here to find out more about his second.

Which Makura Mouthguard Is Best for American Football Players?

Unfortunately 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 football mouthguard:

Fit

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

Certification

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, the highest attainable for ready-made mouthguards.

Features

Look for 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®

  • 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.
  • Available in one size—senior (ages 11 and over)—and three colour combinations.

IGNIS® CONVERTIBLE

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

TOKA PRO®

  • The TOKA PRO® 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.

LITHOS PRO®

  • 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 slipping while the jaw is closed.
  • CE approved and certified.
  • Available in one size—senior (ages 11 and over)—and two colour combinations.