April is National Facial Protection Month, and 5 dental organizations are teaming up to educate the public about protection against facial injuries while participating in sports. According to the journal Sports Health, more than 5 million teeth are injured or knocked out each year, costing the American public $500 million.
Dentists and dental specialists agree that athletes in all sports should wear mouthguards, which are significantly more cost-effective than the price of repairing an injury, according to the organizations. Also, dentists and dental specialists can provide customized mouthguards that protect the teeth but also allow for normal speech and breathing.
A dentist-made mouthguard will have a more tailored fit, but commercial mouth guards are less expensive and available at drugstores and other retail locations, the organizations note. Athletes who are in orthodontic treatment should consult their orthodontist about the type of mouth guard that they should use.
The Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Association of Orthodontists, and the ADA are co-sponsoring the annual campaign encouraging 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 mouthguards and helmets to avoid being sidelined by an injury. According to the organizations, mouth protection should be fitted, light, strong, easy to clean, and the correct size so it covers the gums and teeth.