Do soccer players wear mouthguards? (full explanation)

In sports such as Rugby and American Football as well as martial arts, mouthguards are worn. But what about soccer players? Do they wear something to protect their teeth. 

Do soccer players wear mouthguards?
Yes there are soccer players who choose to wear mouthguards during games. This is to protect their teeth from getting damaged. Because soccer is a contact sport, a player runs the risk of, for example, a broken tooth. Mouthguards prevent this. Wearing it is not mandatory.

When you read on, we explain in detail about soccer players wearing mouthguards. However, we explain even more in this blog. So you'll find out what injuries it prevents, which famous soccer players wear mouthguards and more.

Why do soccer players wear mouthguards?

You are surely aware that soccer is a contact sport. Especially in head duels, there is a possibility that you could collide with someone else's head. There is also the chance that you will get an elbow or hand in the face, for example. 

This often happens with a lot of force. The teeth are vulnerable to these kinds of collisions.

Therefore, there is a chance that a tooth will break off or come loose. 

Research shows that in America there are 5 million dental injuries per year in sports. This includes all sports. Given the large number of people who play soccer, it can be assumed that these injuries are also incurred in soccer. Because of this, we also dare to assume that this will be no different in Europe. 

One reason why soccer players wear mouth guards is to protect their teeth from breaking or falling out. 

Another reason soccer players wear mouthguards is for financial reasons. The same research mentioned earlier shows that the expense of these injuries is around $500 million. Wearing mouthguards prevents you from incurring unnecessary expenses at the dentist.

Finally, you are not only protecting yourself when you wear mouthguards. In fact, you also protect your fellow and opposing players. We mentioned earlier that soccer is a contact sport. The chance of colliding with a fellow or opponent player during a game is very likely. If you wear mouthguards, your teeth cannot injure another player. Consider, for example, cutting someone.  

Is wearing mouthguard mandatory in soccer?

Wearing mouthguards in soccer is not mandatory. This applies to both amateur and professional soccer. This is because it is not mentioned in the IFAB rules. IFAB is the official organization that determines the rules of soccer. 

However, the IFAB also says nothing about whether it may be worn. So a soccer player may decide this himself. 

What is remarkable is that especially in America, more soccer players choose to wear mouthguards during soccer. Research by Dentalcare shows that 7% of soccer players in America choose to wear mouthguards. 

You see this a lot less on European soccerfields. Perhaps the healthcare system affects this. In general, people in countries like the Netherlands, The United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France and Spain have better medical insurance than in America. Therefore, in America, people more often have to pay for dental expenses themselves.

This blog may also interest you
What protection does a soccer player wear?

What injuries can you prevent by wearing mouthguards?

Mouthguards are worn in your upper teeth. This prevents a tooth from breaking off or falling out entirely. However, it also prevents you from biting through your lip or tongue. 

Wearing a mouth guard also protects your fellow players. After all, wearing it prevents you from accidentally injuring someone with your teeth. 

Frequently asked questions about mouth protection

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about mouthguards and soccer.

Are you experiencing discomfort from wearing mouthguards during soccer?

At first, wearing mouthguards will take some time before you get used to them. This is because at first it may feel strange to wear mouthguards. This is because they do not fall exactly over your teeth. 

Some mouthguards can feel quite bulky in your mouth. This can be perceived as uncomfortable. 

Standard mouthguards can also cause you to take in a little less oxygen. Especially when you are doing high-intensity running, this can affect your performance. In this case, custom mouthguards are a better choice since they do not interfere with oxygen delivery. 

Coaching during soccer is also important. Wearing standard mouthguards makes talking more difficult. Again, wearing custom mouthguards are the solution. 

Finally, it is important to keep drinking properly during sports. Standard mouthguards make drinking from a water bottle or cup more difficult. This is because the protection simply gets in the way. Again, custom mouthguards are the solution. 

Should mouthguards be custom-made?

In this case, the choice is yours. You can choose to have custom-made mouthguards. Custom-made mouthguards are more comfortable because they are exactly the shape of your teeth. Above you have read about the advantages of custom-made mouthguards. 

So consider this if you don't like the fit of standard mouthguards or if they bother you. 

How expensive is a mouthguard?

There is no single answer to exactly how expensive mouthguards are. Prices vary greatly. This is because there are standard mouth guards as well as custom-made mouth guards. Custom-made versions are always more expensive since an impression of your teeth has to be made first. This is usually done at the dentist. This of course involves the necessary costs. 

In addition, the mouth guard you wear must be made especially for you. Standard mouthguards are available for as little as $10,-.

Will you become a better player by wearing mouthguards during soccer?

Whether you become a better soccer player from wearing mouthguards varies from person to person. If you are naturally fearful of entering a head duel, for example, because you are afraid of getting an injury, wearing mouthguards can reduce this. In this case, you could say you become a better player since you have more courage. In soccer, having courage is sometimes an important factor.

Can I wear a night bit during soccer?

Some people wear a bit during sleep against grinding teeth, for example. This one is not meant to be worn during sports. This is because it does not have the same thickness and structure as a mouth guard for sports. That means it doesn't protect your teeth as well as how a mouthguard does. 

How do you clean mouthguards?

The mouthguard you wear is best rinsed with cold water. Do not do this with hot water as this may get more bacteria on it. Also, do not use soap to clean it. Dry your mouthguard with some kitchen paper or an unused towel. 

Are there other ways to protect the face during soccer?

In addition to wearing mouth protection, you can also wear a helmet and/or protection mask. Learn more about wearing a protection mask during soccer in our blog Why do soccer players wear a protection mask? Goalkeepers in particular choose to protect their head with a helmet. Learn more about this in our blog Why do soccer goalkeepers wear a helmet?

Which famous soccer players wear mouthguards?

There are many well-known professional football players who choose to wear mouthguards. Some always play with these, while others only do so for a certain period of time. 

Professional soccer players wearing mouth guard*:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Lionel Messi
  • Sergio Ramos
  • Christian Pulisic
  • Harry Kane
  • Gabriel Jesus
  • Alessandro Bastoni
  • Renato Sanches
  • Joao Pedro

* Some players temporarily wore the mouth guard.

In what other sports is a mouthguard worn?

Besides being worn in soccer, there are numerous other sports in which mouthguards are worn. Below is an overview of some of these sports:

  • Rugby
  • American Football
  • Hockey
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Karate
  • Taekwondo
  • Basketball
  • Water polo


So the answer to whether soccer players wear mouthguards is yes. However, it is not mandatory and it is up to the soccer player to decide whether or not to wear it. Wearing it prevents injuries in the mouth such as a tooth breaking or loosening. Having this repaired at the dentist is a lot more expensive than buying a mouth guard. 

After reading this blog, have you become convinced of the benefits of mouthguards and are you going to wear one yourself? 

Did you find this blog interesting and are you curious to read more blogs about soccer protection? Click here for an overview of all blogs on this topic. 

January 26, 2023
Published: January 26, 2023