April is National Facial Protection Month

April is National Facial Protection Mount and this year, the ADA and other dental associations are reminding athletes and recreational sports players to wear mouthguards to protect their teeth.

Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw, according to MouthHealthy.org, the ADA's consumer website.

The ADA, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Association of Orthodontists urge parents, caregivers, athletes and coaches to be proactive about staying safe by using a mouthguard. According to the organizations, children ages 7-11 are most vulnerable to sports-related mouth injuries, and athletes are 60 percent more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they're not wearing a mouthguard.

While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating, according to MouthHealthy.org.

The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can't afford a custom-made mouthguard, you can still wear a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard available at sporting good stores.

For more information on mouthguards, visit MouthHealthy.org and search "mouthguards."

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