April is National Facial Protection Month, and Dr. Stephen Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics want to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports.
A sports-related injury can happen in an instant. Without the proper protective gear, young athletes could find themselves on the bench instead of the playing field this spring. Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation forecasted that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events. They also reported that athletes who don’t wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth.
Despite their known benefits, many young athletes are not wearing mouth guards during sports competitions and practices. In a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists, 67% of parents admitted that their child does not wear a mouth guard while playing baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball and many other contact sports.
Our job at Bel Air Orthodontics is to help our patients obtain healthy, beautiful smiles. The last thing we want to see is a patient injured and sidelined because they weren't properly equipped. That's where parents come in. Simple and relatively inexpensive protective gear - such as a mouth guard - can dramatically decrease the risk of oral and facial injuries. That's why Dr. Godwin is encouraging parents to talk with their dental professionals about the right mouth guards for their young athletes and urges coaches to require that young athletes wear their mouth guards at every practice and every game.
Whether at a practice, at a game, or simply enjoying some fun in the neighborhood, it’s important to take these precautions to protect your face and teeth from injury:
- Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports to help prevent injuries to the teeth, mouth and jaw; if you are wearing braces, please make sure you ask us for a mouth guard designed specifically for orthodontic patients;
- Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact;
- Wear protective eye wear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable;
- Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin;
- Be alert - as a player or a spectator.
If your child suffers dental trauma such as a knocked-out or broken tooth, Dr. Godwin suggests that you contact your dentist for immediate attention. For those in braces, it’s also important to contact our office to schedule an appointment for repair since damage to braces can lengthen treatment time and affect treatment results.
About National Facial Protection Month: Every April, the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Society, the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry team up to remind parents and parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of taking precautions to preserve their teeth and protect them from facial injuries.