Why Mouthguards Matter in Basketball

When it comes to the use of mouthguards, basketball is a sport that has flown under the radar for quite some time. Since it’s not a contact sport, do players even need to wear mouthguards? The answer: yes.

In one study of university and college basketball players, just under


sustained at least one dental injury in a single season.
The incident response rate for non-mouthguard mandated sports like basketball is over


compared to just under 3% for sports like football where mouthguards are required.

In one study, although 17% of basketball players experienced dental trauma, only


chose to wear a mouthguard.

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A Brief History of Mouthguards in Basketball

Mouthguards have been worn by boxers since the early twentieth century. In basketball, however, they’re still a new and emerging trend. The National Basketball Association (NBA) hasn’t mandated them for its players, though it has established guidelines for those who choose to wear mouthguards. They must be a solid colour—white, black, clear, or a team’s primary colour—and can’t have any logos except the team logo. Over the last decade in particular, mouthguards have become more prominent thanks to top players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, Alan Anderson, and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Other organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have followed suit, not requiring the use of mouthguards, but leaving it to the discretion of individual players and teams to determine their own policies.

“We fund so much money into shoes and uniforms, but the one aspect that can really make a huge difference in a kid for the rest of their lives is a mouthguard that can protect them from trauma.”

Dr. Rick Knowlton, President of the Academy for Sports Dentistry

Do Basketball Players Need Mouthguards?

Even though basketball is technically a non-contact sport, research in recent years has revealed that basketball players are at a remarkably high risk for dental injuries. A study of college athletes in the US revealed that basketball players were five times more likely than football players to suffer a dental injury during practice or a game.

Despite the danger, many basketball players still choose not to wear mouthguards for one of two reasons:

There’s an assumption that they are unlikely to suffer a dental injury and, even if they do, it’s just a broken tooth. Not only does a chipped or cracked tooth cause serious discomfort and cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix, in many cases the damage also extends well beyond a simple fracture, affecting the jaw bone and gums.

There are practical concerns players have about mouthguards as well, especially surrounding on-the-court communication. Challenges talking to his teammates throughout games weighed heavily on Amar’e Stoudemire’s decision to stop wearing mouthguards.

This is one of the reasons why the fit of your mouthguard is so important. If it fits well, it shouldn’t impair your ability to carry on a conversation or communicate with other members of your team. If you have trouble speaking or breathing or if your mouthguard makes you gag, it’s not the right fit.

Remember: whatever your sport—no matter your level or how often you play—a mouthguard is always the right move when it comes to protecting your mouth and teeth from contact-related injuries.

Which Makura Mouthguard Is Best for Basketball Players?

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

That being said, there are certain characteristics you can keep an eye out for when choosing a basketball mouthguard:


This is an especially important consideration for many, as being able to communicate with other players on the court is a necessity.

Remember, a properly fitted mouthguard shouldn’t inhibit your breathing or speech in any way. 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.


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™ is Level 2 Impact Resistant, the highest attainable for ready-made mouthguards.


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


  • 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 for ages 11 and over) and three colour combinations.

  • 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.

  • 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 for ages 11 and over) and two colour combinations.

  • 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.

  • 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.
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