Research Outline

Federal and State Mouthguard Requirements



To provide the state and federal mouthguard requirements and recommendations for major competitive organized school sports in the US (K-16). An ideal response would include:
  • Tables or references to updated mouthguard guidelines from government bodies or interscholastic/collegiate sports governing bodies (i.e.,
  • Information from each US state's health agency or the agency that oversees youth sports.
  • Alternatively, we will provide the mouthguard requirements and recommendations for non-school organized youth sports in the US such as Pop Warner Football, Little League Baseball, AAU basketball, North American Hockey League.

Early Findings

Data Availability

  • Information about mouthguard requirements and recommendations is somewhat limited and fragmented because there are different requirements and recommendations for each sport and per state. Also, in some cases, there is a distinction made between a requirement and a recommendation, while in others there is none. Additionally, some of the information found was dated.
  • However, we were able to determine the state high school athletic associations that are members of the NFHS and have summarized the information found at the Federal level and for the state of Alabama within this spreadsheet.

Federal Requirements and Recommendations

  • As of 2020, the NCAA mandates the use of mouthguards in four sports: football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and field hockey.
  • Conversely, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the International Academy of Sports Dentistry (IASD) recommend that mouthguards should be used for eighteen sports, which are considered to be at a high risk of dental trauma including basketball.
  • NFHS currently mandates the use of mouthguards in football, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse ,and wrestling (for wrestlers wearing braces).

Alabama Requirements and Recommendations

  • The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) is the largest governing body for high school athletics in Alabama and a member of the NFHS.
  • In 2019, an AHSAA press release referred to a new rule tagged 3-5-8, which recommends the use of a mouthguard for high school basketball players. Though recommended, the use of mouthguards is not required.
  • According to AHSAA's 2020-21 handbook "Helmets and hand-held blocking pads are the only types of protective equipment that may be used in any football practice competition. The use of mouthguards is not mentioned in the handbook.