Six national organizations are teaming up in April for National Facial Protection Month to promote the use of protective gear – such as mouth guards and helmets – to prevent dental and facial injuries resulting from sports and recreational activities.
Founded in 2000 by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), National Facial Protection Month provides a platform for members of the sponsoring organizations to reach out to their communities to encourage the use of effective facial protection gear to help reduce dental and facial injuries and the ensuing pain and expense.
According to a 2015 study in the journal Sports Health, $500 million is spent replacing and repairing the more than 5 million teeth injured or knocked out every year. The overall cost to treat just one knocked-out tooth and resulting issues over a lifetime can range from $5,000 to $20,000 due to follow-up maintenance.
To avoid dental and facial injuries, remember these four important tips:
-Mouth guards should be worn in all contact or collisions sports.
-Helmets should always be worn when biking and playing football, softball, baseball, lacrosse, and hockey as well as during activities such as skateboarding, riding scooters or other physical activities that pose a risk of concussion. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact.
-Protective eyewear and helmets should be worn per the standards of ASTM International, a voluntary standard-setting organization.
-Be alert, even as a spectator. Alert spectators can avoid foul baseballs and flying hockey pucks.
-Mouth guards should be fitted, strong, easy-to-clean and the proper size to cover the upper and/or lower teeth and gums. The best mouth guard is a custom-fitted one made by a dental professional, but more inexpensive solutions – such as boil-and-bite and stock mouth guards – can be used if cost is an issue. Those with braces should consult their orthodontist about the type of mouth guard to use.
According to a study in Pediatrics – the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the newest cosponsor of National Facial Protection Month – 30 percent of children experience a dental injury by age 14. Members of AAOMS, AAP and the four other sponsors – the Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association of Orthodontists and American Dental Association – hope the use of protective gear will help lower that number.
Visit these cosponsor websites 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.
Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is the membership organization of the specialty of pediatric dentistry with approximately 10,500 members.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Visit AAP's website for parents for information.
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.
The American Association of Orthodontists, founded in 1900, is the world's oldest and largest dental specialty organization. Its more than 19,000 orthodontist members help patients of all ages achieve healthy, beautiful smiles.
The American Dental Association, founded in 1859, is the country's largest dental association with more than 163,000 dentist members.
About National Facial Protection Month
Founded by AAOMS, National Facial Protection Month is sponsored annually during the month of April by the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association. Visit the websites for more information and materials.