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April is National Facial Protection Month

As the weather warms up and kids and adults “spring” into a more active lifestyle, consumers need to embrace safety strategies to protect themselves against injuries to the face, head and mouth.

“One fall or collision with a fellow biker could damage your smile, so it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Dr. Alice Boghosian, ADA Consumer Advisor and a practicing dentist in the Chicago area. “Mouthguards aren’t just for football players or hockey players. Mouthguards should be worn while participating in any sport that involves the risk of injury, such as basketball and volleyball. Why risk damaging your gums or losing a tooth?”

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (www.aaoms.org), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (www.aapd.org), the American Association of Orthodontists (www.braces.org) and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (www.academyforsportsdentistry.org) sponsor the annual National Facial Protection Month. The organizations encourage children and adults to take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries common in those who participate in sports or have an active lifestyle.

The AAOMS encourages use of helmets during a variety of sports and activities, including riding bicycles, scooters and motorcycles; or playing baseball soccer or lacrosse. The dental organizations also advise athletes and outdoor enthusiasts to use protective eyewear and face shields when appropriate.

Dental professionals have long encouraged patients to use protective mouthguards during sports and recreational activities such as rollerblading and skateboarding.

Mouthguards, which typically cover the upper teeth, can cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, according to the ADA. A properly fitted mouthguard will stay in place and be easy for users to talk and breathe while wearing.

Dental professionals and patients can find more information on mouthguards on ADA.org (www.ada.org/2970.aspx), including treating dental emergencies, the ADA’s official statement on mouthguards, the advantages and disadvantages of stock, boil-and-bite and custom-fitted mouthguards and more.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

4/18/2012

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