April is National Facial Protection Month

March 25, 2014 03:07 PM
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Rosemont, IL (March 25, 2014)  Five of the nation’s top dental associations want to remind young athletes to play it safe by wearing a mouth guard during recreational and organized sports this spring.  Research estimates that about 2 percent of all children or adolescents who participate in sports eventually will suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention[1]

"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.  "Mouth guards protect the teeth from being knocked out, broken and displaced.  Mouth guards prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth. They also help prevent injuries to the mandible (lower jaw) and temporomandibular joint in the jaw. Tooth loss incurs a tremendous financial, emotional, and psychological expense.  Protect what you have - wear a properly fitted mouth guard."

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 the American Dental Association (ADA) are collaborating to promote National Facial Protection Month in April.  National Facial Protection Month strives to raise public awareness and remind parents/caregivers, coaches and athletes to play it safe while playing sports.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial  Injuries, sports accidents reportedly account for 10 to 39 percent of all dental injuries in children and are most often caused by direct hits with a hard object, such as a puck or ball, and player-to-player contact[2].

The dental associations offer the following five tips to help prevent facial injury:

1.       Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports: 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.

2.       Wear a helmet: Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.

3.       Wear protective eyewear: Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.

4.       Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin: Hockey pucks, basketballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.

5.       Make protective gear mandatory for all sports: 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 be required to wear them, particularly when participating in[3]:

 

Acrobatics

Field Hockey

Racquetball

Squash

Bandy

Football

Rugby

Surfing

Baseball

Gymnastics

Shot Put

Volleyball

Basketball

Handball

Skateboarding

Water Polo

Bicycling

Ice Hockey

Skiing

Weightlifting

Boxing

Inline Skating

Skydiving

Wrestling

Equestrian Events

Lacrosse

Soccer

 

Field Events

Martial Arts

Softball

 

 

Click here to download a fact sheet on choosing a mouthguard to protect your face.

 

[1] http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Maxillofacial_Trauma.aspx.

 

[2] SOURCE: Newsome P, Tran D, Cooke M. The role of the mouth-guard in the prevention of sports-related dental injuries: A review. Int J Paediatr Dent 2001;11(6):396-404.

 

[3] Chart provided by the American Dental Association and the Academy of Sports Dentistry.

 

 

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About National Facial Protection Month
National Facial Protection Month takes place each year during the month of April.  For further information and materials on this annual observance, visit the sponsoring associations’ Web sites at the Academy for Sports Dentistry (http://www.academyforsportsdentistry.org/), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (www.aapd.org), American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (www.aaoms.org), American Association of Orthodontists (www.mylifemysmile.org) and the American Dental Association (www.mouthhealthy.org). 

 


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