Why Do NFL Players Not Wear Mouthguards?

The National Football League, or the NFL, is a league of giant, aggressive, strong, and witty men who show extraordinary strength on the football field.

Often the NFL comprises players who are physically above regular people. These players put all their blood and sweat into the game, which is eye-pleasing but also dangerous.

There is a lot of push and pull, which sometimes leads fans to a state of speechlessness and the players to hospitals.

Because of such scenarios, NFL players get equipped with additional gadgets like helmets, protective pads, compression uniforms, mouth guards, etc.

While every other piece of these protective gadgets is mandatory, the NFL has given an option to the players for a mouthguard.

Mouth guards are one of the optional but highly recommended protection pieces that an NFL player should use.

These mouthguards act as shock absorbers and protect the teeth, jaws, and other facial structures from the hit the players get while on the field.

These also prevent concussions in many cases.

There are many scenarios where an NFL player got a severe impact or other permanent facial injuries because they were not wearing mouthguards.

Despite all these reasons, most players still choose not to use mouthguards during their games. Today, we will go through some reasons why NFL players avoid mouthguards.


The mouthguards are often big to keep in the mouth during the game, which is uncomfortable for even a regular person, let alone the NFL players who have to run on the field.

Since mouthguards are produced in masses and are not customized to every single athlete’s mouth, they don’t fit perfectly on every athlete’s mouth.

So, many NFL players avoid mouthguards because they do not want to carry this burden while on the football field.

Chances of Miscommunication

Often the mouthguards make it hard to move the mouth or to talk. Because of this, many NFL players feel that these protective pieces hinder them while communicating with their teammates.

They even share that mouthguards often cause a case of miscommunication in the field.

Breathing Difficulties

Another reason why NFL players do not wear mouthguards is because of breathing difficulties. These mouthguards make it hard to breathe while running or tackling on the field.

The players are already in a fight or flight mode while running on the ground and sort of air. And in addition to it, having guards in the mouth makes breathing more difficult.

Difficulties While Drinking Water

Along with problems in breathing normally, NFL players also have to go through difficulties with their thirst while on the field. Whenever they get thirsty, they cannot just go and drink water.

Instead, they need to remove their mouthguards and again put them back, which is a hustle while on the field.

Hinder Concentration

Many NFL players have also complained that wearing mouthguards often leads to hindrance while concentrating on the game.

Players pay attention to placing and managing their mouthguards even during the game. It makes them lose their focus on the game, even if it means for a few seconds.

Though a few seconds is not a great deal outside the field, it can be a game changer when the NFL players are on the field.


And the last reason why NFL players avoid mouthguards is that it is unhygienic. Though the players use personal and sterilized mouthguards while entering the field, it is not the case by the time the game ends.

Scientific research has shown that the typical mouthguard of NFL players has tons of microbes, dirt, and even blood, making it dirty.

The players run, get tackled, and knocked down all the time, and their mouthguards come in contact with their surroundings. These guards then carry all kinds of dirty components with them.

Because of all these reasons, most NFL players avoid the mouthguard like the plague. There are a smaller number of players who wear mouthguards while on the field, while the majority prefer playing without them.

Here are a few of the renowned NFL players who do not wear mouthguards

  • Jahan Dotson

The young wide receiver of the Washington Commanders, Jahan Dotson, is a renowned NFL player who does not like wearing mouthguards on the field, but he places them on his helmet as a fashion statement.

  • Dyami Brown

Dyami Brown also is in the same group as his teammate Dotson, who puts his mouthguard on his helmet instead of wearing it.

  • Kellen Winslow

The former tight end of the San Diego Chargers, Kellen Winslow, also joins the young NFL players like Brown and Dotson who do not prefer wearing mouthguards.

  • Shaun Alexander

Shaun Alexander, the SEC Player of the Year 1999, also joins the list as one of the renowned NFL players who avoided wearing mouthguards during his time in the NFL.

If you are an NFL fan, here are a few more articles that you should read.

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