April is National Facial Protection Month, and five dental organizations are teaming up to educate the public about how to protect against facial injuries while participating in sports.
According to a study in the journal Sports Health, more than 5 million teeth are injured or knocked out every year, costing the American public $500 million. Dentists and dental specialists agree that athletes in all sports should wear mouth guards, which are significantly more cost-effective than the price of repairing an injury. Dentists and dental specialists can provide customized mouth guards that protect the teeth but also allow for normal speech and breathing. While a dentist-made mouth guard will have a more tailored fit, there are also commercially available mouth guards that are less expensive and can be purchased from a drugstore. Athletes in orthodontic treatment should consult their orthodontist about the type of mouth guard to use.
The Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and the American Dental Association (ADA) are co-sponsoring the annual campaign that encourages parents, caregivers and coaches to help prevent sports-related injuries to the head and face by using safety equipment. Athletes are urged to wear protective gear such as mouth guards and helmets to avoid being sidelined by an injury.
According to the five dental organizations, mouth protection should be fitted, light, strong, easy to clean and the correct size so it covers the gums and teeth.
Visit the co-sponsor websites listed below for more information and resources:
- The Academy for Sports Dentistry was established in 1983 as a forum for dentists, doctors, athletic trainers, coaches, dental technicians and educators for sharing ideas about sports dentistry and athletes’ dental needs.www.academyforsportsdentistry.org/
- Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is the membership organization of the specialty of pediatric dentistry with 10,000 members.www.mychildrensteeth.org
- Established in 1918, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons represents more than 9,000 oral and maxillofacial surgeons and supports its fellows and members through education, research and advocacy.www.myoms.org/saveface
- The American Association of Orthodontists, founded in 1900, is the world’s oldest and largest dental specialty organization, representing more than 18,000 orthodontist members.www.mylifemysmile.org
- The American Dental Association, founded in 1859, is the country’s largest dental association, representing more than 161,000 dentist members.www.mouthhealthy.org