Why Do Hockey Players Lose Teeth?

There are many potential reasons why hockey players lose teeth. This includes hits and falls, being hit with a puck or stick, and a lack of protection. Wearing a mouthguard and being careful when playing can help to prevent tooth loss.

While hockey is a fun sport that can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be dangerous at times. It is very fast-paced, and whenever there is a contact sport with a fast pace that also involves the use of equipment like a stick and a puck, injuries can follow.

For example, if you have ever watched a high-level hockey game, there is a good chance you’ve seen at least one player with a missing tooth. But why? What about the sport that causes players to lose teeth? Keep reading to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • One reason that many hockey players may lose teeth is from hits and falls. Collisions are common, whether they be with the ice, another player, or the boards. If someone is hit hard enough, it can certainly be enough to lose teeth.
  • Being hit with a puck or stick is also another cause of teeth being lost. Sticks and pucks are hard and generally move very fast in the game of hockey, and can do some damage if they hit you in the face.
  • A lack of protection in the NHL can also contribute to the loss of teeth. There is no mandated full face shield or cage like in the NFL, and NHL players aren’t required to wear a mouthguard if they don’t want to.

1. Hits and Falls

One of the most common reasons for players losing teeth is being hit or falling. Anything from the shoulder of an opponent to running into the glass that surrounds the ice can lead to this problem if you’re not careful.

Things move fast in hockey, and any sort of hard hit to the face or head can lead to losing teeth, or other facial/head injuries.

In addition to hits from opponents or hitting the boards or goal posts, players simply falling can potentially cause tooth loss. Hockey is played on skates, and even some of the best skaters on the planet still fall and lose their balance from time to time.

If someone trips and hits their face or chin on the ice or on the boards, it can certainly lead to dental injury in some cases.

2. Being Hit With a Puck

Blocking shots can be a great way to help your team on defense, but can be dangerous at times. These pucks are made from an incredibly hard rubber and often travel incredibly quickly through the air.

I have been hit in the legs and body with a puck on several occasions and that was bad enough, so there is no doubt that getting a puck to the face would be an awful experience. Many players who have lost teeth thanks to hockey have lost them due to being hit with the puck.

Even at low speeds, these pucks can do damage, so them coming off the stick of a skilled professional can make them very dangerous. If you are going to block shots, it’s always recommended to turn away from the puck when attempting to block it, to protect your face.

3. Getting High-sticked

Another thing that can lead to tooth loss in a hockey game is being hit with a stick. NHL players are pros and are generally good at controlling their sticks and avoiding hitting others with them, but accidents can always happen.

Just like a puck, these sticks are quite hard and generally move at high speeds. High sticking can often occur during the follow-through of a shot, when someone is attempting a stick lift, or when someone simply isn’t paying attention to the position of their stick during play.

4. A Lack of Protection

Another reason for some hockey players losing teeth is because of a lack of protection. Hockey is a game full of risks and hazards and while there is plenty of protective equipment being worn, there is no rule that players need to wear mouthguards.

Plenty of players will still wear them, but they don’t have to. And while there is no guarantee that a mouthguard will stop dental injuries from occurring, it can make them less likely and potentially less severe.

In addition to no rules surrounding mouthguards, most hockey players wear a helmet that leaves their face open. Some wear a visor, but this still doesn’t protect the lower half of their face.

There is no full helmet like a football to stop pucks, sticks, or other hazards from hitting someone in the face and causing tooth loss. Some players will wear full cages in some leagues, but NHL players generally prefer to play without them.


Here are a few frequently asked questions about hockey players losing teeth, along with their answers.

How can you prevent tooth loss when playing hockey?

While accidents can always happen, wearing a mouthguard or a full cage when playing hockey can reduce your chances of dental injuries. Also, being aware of your surroundings and avoiding contact when possible can also help.

Why don’t some hockey players replace their missing teeth?

It’s different for everyone, but there are a few different potential reasons. Some see a missing tooth as a sign of pride, others simply don’t feel the need, and some because of the fact that they might end up breaking the replacement.

Final Thoughts

Hockey is a fast-paced and physical sport, and with a ton of contact, and hard equipment like a stick or puck, players do indeed lose teeth from time to time. But wearing a mouthguard or a full cage can help reduce the chances of an injury like this occurring.

Is there anything else you think I should have mentioned in this article? If so, let me know in the comment below!

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey. Email: kale@hockeyhow.com

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