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Play It Safe: Prevent Facial Injuries With Simple Sports Safety Precautions

Experts offer critical advice on protecting children and young adults from dental and facial injuries

ROSEMONT, Ill., April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- April is National Facial Protection Month and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), and the American Dental Association (ADA) are teaming up to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111219/DC25244LOGO)

The mouth and face of a child or young adult can be easily injured if the proper precautions are not used while participating in sports or recreational activities. In fact, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of the 7 million sports- and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by children as young as 5 years old. Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) 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. Yet, in a survey* commissioned by the AAO, 67% of parents admitted that their children do 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 injuries, why aren't more kids wearing them?

The AAO survey* found that 84% of children do not wear mouth guards while playing organized sports because they are not required to wear them, even though they may be required to wear other protective materials, such as helmets and shoulder pads. At a time when a good football helmet or hockey stick may cost $200 each, mouth guards can be one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available. Not only do mouth guards save teeth, they help protect jaws.

An effective mouth guard holds teeth in place, resists tearing and allows for normal speech and breathing. It should cover the teeth and, depending on the patient's bite, also the gums. Your dental professional can recommend the best mouth guard for every sports activity.  A properly fitted mouth guard can prevent many accidents and traumatic injuries.

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