Can I Play Rugby With Braces?

You have just spent thousands of dollars on fixing your teeth and you are naturally protective over your newly straightened pearly whites. The only issue is you also love rugby and don’t want anything holding you back from attaining footy glory. In this article we will explore whether or not it is safe to step on the rugby pitch while wearing braces.

Can I play rugby with braces?

Yes, you can play rugby with braces as long as you wear a custom mouthguard designed by your dentist. And you wear your mouthguard at all times during a match and training. As you should be wearing a mouthguard during rugby irrespective if you have braces it should not change your rugby routine.

Why Should You Wear A Mouthguard While Playing Rugby?

You should wear a mouthguard while playing rugby as mouthguards reduce your likelihood of suffering a mouth injury and a concussion. Mouthguards provide you with peace of mind as you don’t have to worry about losing your teeth. Mouthguards can also be a cool accessory which you customise with different images making you stand out to selectors.

  • Reduced chance of Mouth Injuries – Scientific research has revealed that sportsmen who wear a gumshield are up to 2 times less likely to damage their than athletes who don’t wear a gumshield
  • Reduce risk of Concussions – Mouthguards strengthen the neck and jaw, they prevent your neck from moving during a tackle which reduces your likelihood of suffering a whiplash effect which a major cause of concussions
  • Cool Accessory – You can choose to get a custom mouthguard in whatever color you like, you can even get personalized inscriptions on your mouthguard
  • Peace Of Mind – By wearing a gumshield during training you can train carefree and silence that little voice in your head which constantly worrying about you losing your teeth and getting stuck with a sizeable dental bill

Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Gumshield During Rugby Union And League?

You shouldn’t wear a gumshield during rugby as they are uncomfortable and can cause a choking sensation. They can restrict your breathing making you get tired faster. Gumshields can also be expensive, costing you over $100 if you buy a dental one.

  • Uncomfortable – Lets face it mouthguards are not comfortable, they make you fee like you are constantly choking or cause friction by rubbing against your gums, even a custom made dental mouthguard will still feel significantly more uncomfortable than playing rugby without one
  • Breathing –  Gumshields negatively affect your breathing as they reduce the amount of oxygen flow you can get through your mouth, when you are exhausted playing rugby you need as big of a mouth breath as you can get, even though your mouth will adapt your oxygen intake will still be reduced
  • Injuries – A poorly fitted mouthguard will not only not prevent you from getting your teeth smashed in but it can also damage your mouth by causing ulcers and lesions due to rubbing against the inside your mouth, these cuts hurt a lot and there is a high risk of infection as the constant dampness in your mouth prolong the recovery process
  • Expensive – You can purchase a cheap mouthguard online or from a pharmacy for $20-$30, however if you want to get a dental mouthguard you can be looking at $100-$200, not everyone can afford that or is willing to part with that much cash
  • Another piece of Equipment – A mouthguard is just another training item that you need to remember to pack, clean and maintain, if you are constantly losing and forgetting things this can be another speed bump in your rugby career

Will Training Rugby With Braces Ruin My Teeth?

Do not fear you can safely train rugby with braces without hurting your teeth as long as you wear a mouthguard. To further reduce your chances of dental injuries you should purchase a custom dental made mouthguard.

Thousands of boys every year play rugby while wearing braces. In schoolboy teams it is common for the majority of the team to be running around the rugby pitch with braces. These boys are able to safely play the game they love and leave the field with straight teeth.

Do I Need A Mouthguard To Train Rugby If I Have Braces?

You do need a mouthguard to train rugby if you have braces. The chance of eventually taking a hard blow to the mouth is high. It would be silly to ruin your teeth and waste all that money spent on braces when you can simply wear a mouthguard which researchers have shown to be highly effective in reducing dental injuries.

Even though it may be cool to not wear a mouthguard during rugby and you do some high level professionals not bothering with a gumshield it is not a smart decision. Blows to the mouth do happen in rugby and people do lose their teeth and suffer nasty cuts in their mouth from biting their gums and tongue. Mouthguards are very effective at protecting your teeth and mouth, so if you like the way your teeth are and don’t like going to the dentist then wear your mouthguard during training and matches. 

Do Gumshields Prevent Teeth Injuries During Rugby?

Yes gumshields are effective at preventing dental injuries in rugby. A study of New Zealand rugby players found that there was a 43% reduction in dental claims from 1995 to 2003 as mouthguard usage rose from 67% in 1993 to 93% in 2003.

What Is The Best Mouthguard For A Rugby Player With Braces?

If you have braces and want to play rugby then you need to buy a custom made mouthguard from your dentist. These mouthguards will fit better than off the shelf options and be made of better materials. This will increase your comfort and reduce your risk of injury.

If you want nice straight teeth and you are currently wearing braces then you should book an appointment with your local dentist and get them to make you a mouthguard specially designed for your mouth. Even though this may be more costly than a mouthguard from an online store or your local chemist your teeth are worth the extra investment in protection. You don’t want to spend $3000 + on your braces only to ruin your teeth because you thought it was a waste to spend $100 for a properly fitted mouthguard from your dentist. A mouthguard made specially for you will be comfortable to wear, will not move and will not rub against your gums. If you want to maximize the protection of your teeth then go to your dentist and get a proper mouthguard made.


If you have braces you may be tempted to think your rugby career is over until you get them removed. However, this is not the case. You can safely play rugby with braces as thousands of boys do every year without incident. The only thing you need to do is remember to wear your mouthguard at all times during matches and at training. You should also spend the extra money on a custom made mouthguard from your dentist to give your braces optimal protection while on the footy pitch.

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