Why Mouthguards Matter in American Football

American football can be a rough sport, which is why having the right protective equipment is crucial for athletes of every level and age. Whatever you’re doing—whether blocking to protect your quarterback or tackling to gain possession of the ball—you need to keep your mouth guarded at all times so that a rogue knee doesn’t land you in the dentist’s chair.

Up to


of dental injuries in the US are sports-related.
In the 1950s, over


of injuries in American football involved players’ teeth.
Today, under


of injuries in American football are dental in nature.

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A Brief History of Mouthguards in American Football

After rising in popularity among boxers in the mid-twentieth century, mouthguards (originally known as “gum shields”) started to gain traction among football players in the United States in the late 1940s. This proved to be a turning point. Prior to the 1950s, over 50% of all injuries in American football involved players’ teeth. Today, rates of dental injuries among football players are less than 3%. Whether or not mouthguards are formally required depends on where you play. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), for example, has very clear rules surrounding the use of mouthguards. In its handbook of rules and regulations, it lists a mouthpiece (“an intra-oral device of any readily visible colour”) as a mandatory item of equipment alongside helmets, thigh guards, and hip, knee, and shoulder pads. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSH) also requires that mouthguards be used in American football, and the American Dental Association (ADA) continues to advocate for their widespread use in all sports. 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 many fans and commentators alike, Jerry Rice stands out as football’s greatest ever wide receiver. He holds a slew of records—most consecutive games with a reception, most career pass receptions, most career passing yards gained, and most career touchdowns just to list a few—racked up over an impressive 20 season career.

But there’s something else outstanding about Jerry Rice: his smile.

“Football can be brutal—injuries, including those to the face and mouth, are a common risk for any player,” Rice said during an interview with Dear Doctor.

Fortunately, Rice was lucky. He didn’t suffer from any major dental traumas, only a few chipped teeth that could be fixed with caps. By wearing proper protective equipment like mouthguards and seeing the dentist regularly, something he hadn’t done as often when he was younger, Jerry Rice can look back at his impressive career with a big, bright smile.

Click here to read the full interview.

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:


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.


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.


Look for attributes like gel-based and flexible liners as well as shock-absorbing outers 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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