Calling all MVPs, team captains, full roster players, practice squads, coaches, teachers and parents/caregivers. Five of the nation’s top dental associations want to remind everyone to play it safe during recreational and organized sports to help prevent serious, painful facial injuries that can take the fun out of the game. Take five, and take in these five simple safety tips.
- Mouth Guards are a Must. Mouth guards are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury, and dentists and dental specialists can make customized mouth guards that hold teeth in place and allow for normal speech and breathing.
- Helmets are always Helpful. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.
- Have 20/20 Vision with Protective Eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
- Face Shields Save Skin…and more. Hockey pucks, footballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
- Cheer and Shout Out Your Support for Mandatory Protective Gear. Athletes who participate in football, hockey and boxing are required to wear mouth guards. If mouth guards have been proven to significantly decrease the risk of oral injuries, why is it not mandatory in every sport for kids to wear them?
Whether your child is playing a contact sport or just monkeying around on the monkey bars, accidents happen. An estimated 12 million people ages of 5 and 22 years suffer a sport-related injury annually, which leads to 20 million lost days of school2 and approximately $33 billion in healthcare costs. Yet, some of these injuries could be prevented with protective gear. “A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of any athlete’s protective equipment,” says Dr. Paul Nativi, DMD, FASD, and past president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry. “Talk with your dentist about what kinds of activities your family enjoys and ask about ways to make sure their teeth and face stay protected.”
April is National Facial Protection Month and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and American Dental Association (ADA) are teaming up to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as young athletes prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports.
Every year, dentists and dental specialists are called to hospital emergency rooms to treat children who have sustained knocked out teeth, broken jaws and other facial injuries during organized or neighborhood sports activities. For most of these children, the injuries could have been less severe or prevented entirely if they had worn a mouth guard, helmet or other protective headgear.
About National Facial Protection Month
National Facial Protection Month is sponsored annually during the month of April by the Academy for Sports Dentistry (http://www.academyforsportsdentistry.org), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (http://www.aapd.org), American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (http://www.MyOMS.org), American Association of Orthodontists (http://www.mylifemysmile.org), and the American Dental Association (http://www.mouthhealthy.org). Visit their Web sites for more information and helpful materials.