April is National Facial Protection Month, and the American Academy of Pediatrics together with the American Academy of Orthodontics encourages children and adults to take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries common in to those who participate in sports. Dr. Cortez, Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Planells at Pediatric Dental Specialists in Long Beach want to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports. A child’s mouth and face can be easily injured if the proper precautions are not used while playing sports. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, more than half of the 7 million sports- and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by youth as young as 5 years old. Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation forecasted that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events – yet, in a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists, 67% of parents admit that their child does not wear a mouth guard during organized sports. This raises a question: if mouth guards offer a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to help dramatically decrease the risk of oral and injuries, why aren’t more kids wearing them? Parents are encouraged to talk with their dental professionals about the right mouth guards for their young athletes, and to urge coaches to require that young athletes wear their mouth guards at every practice and every game.
4 Tips for Young Athletes to Play It Safe
1. Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to one’s head.
2. Wear protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
3, Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs, and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
4. Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports (such as football, baseball, basketball, and soccer). Mouth guards can help prevent injury to a person’s jaw, mouth and teeth; and they are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury.
April is the perfect time to get into the mouth guard habit. Wear one at every practice and every game.