April is National Facial Protection Month (NFPM), and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) 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.
Team up with your colleagues to get the word out to your community about NFPM and consistent wear of mouth guards and safety equipment!
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, these injuries could have been less severe or prevented entirely if they had worn a mouth guard, helmet or other protective head gear.
When kids don’t wear mouth guards or protective head gear in sports activities, it’s usually because parents and coaches are unaware of their importance. Many parents have limited sports backgrounds and don’t realize the potential for serious injury in an impromptu neighborhood game of basketball or baseball, or a simple bike ride.
Although mouth guards are now generally considered standard equipment for football and hockey players, they really should be worn during any contact sport. “Contact sport” is not limited to one player knocking into another, but encompasses any sport in which the player is likely to have his or her face come into contact with the pavement or other hard object. Kids who participate in soccer, extreme sports (BMX biking, skateboarding and in-line skating) and other common sports should wear a mouth guard and other protective helmets and equipment to protect them from injury.