The importance of mouth protection in rugby

A mouthguard is a tool that is placed in the mouth to protect against injury to teeth, lacerations to the mouth and fractures and dislocation of the jaw. There is clear support in the scientific literature for the use of mouth guard in contact sports such as rugby. In addition, there is proof that mouthguards are essential in protecting against concussions and spinal injuries.

There is a high level of acceptance of mouthguards by players and more and more are wearing mouth protectors regularly. This is the case among professional players but is also increasingly becoming quite high among semi and non-professional players. There is strong support among players and researchers for mouth protection to be made mandatory.

It is generally recommended that:  mouth protection is worn during training and play sessions; the habit of wearing mouth protection begins at an early age; mouth protectors are replaced regularly while the children are still growing up, and adult players replace their mouthguards at least every 2 years.

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The choice of mouth guard will depend on a number of factors including the individual’s age, effectiveness, and cost. Type I includes ‘off-the-shelf’ mouth protection, which is considered inferior when compared to other types available, and its use is not recommended. The next level of mouth protectors come in 2 forms, a shell-liner variety, and the commonly found ‘boil and bite’ option. Type III mouth guards (specially made) are recommended for players who play in more vulnerable positions and in higher classes.

The best type of protection begins with a material of at least 4 mm in the vital areas of potential impact – the front of teeth and underneath the molars – and means there is no large material where protection is not needed. It’s important that your athletes have the right level of protection for their specific sport or they could risk injury, whether training or in competitive matches. For a wealth of Rugby Drill information for your training sessions, visit

In order for your players to get the best protection and comfort from their mouth guards, they need to be worn properly. And it all starts with the fit.

Everyone’s mouths are different, so it’s important to ensure that they get mouth guards that are designed by considering the exact individual structure of their mouths. Their guard must be tight enough to remain firm on their upper teeth with no need to be supported by the lower jaw. There should be no need to clench the teeth or bite to hold it in.

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When a mouthguard fits snugly, it remains in place for any force and will not come off. It should never be able to escape and hover around the mouth. It should only be possible to remove the guard by pulling it with the finger.

Mouthguards today are very different from mouth guards in the past – fortunately! Gone are the days of boiling and biting on a large piece of rubber, because mouthguards are now produced using sophisticated materials and different option features to personalize the right guard for each individual player.


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