National Facial Protection Month is a great opportunity to spread the word about the importance of protecting your face and head during outdoor activities. Every April, the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists come together to sponsor National Facial Protection Month. The groups come together to encourage children, and adults, to take the necessary precautions to prevent sports injuries while enjoying the great outdoors.
Every spring, orthodontists and dentists see a flood of patients who have suffered head, mouth, and facial injuries. Most injuries are sports-related and many are preventable. The majority of injuries presented to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms could have been easily prevented with the use of safety equipment like helmets and mouth guards. So, as we enter a time of year typically reserved for outdoor activities, what better time to help raise awareness? National Facial Protection Month strives to do just that.
How Common Are Sports Injuries?
Whether your child plays a contact sport, or is just horsing around outside, accidents happen. Sports and recreation-related injuries are commonly seen by doctors and emergency room physicians every year. Of the 7 million reported activity-related injuries, more than half are sustained by young people between the ages of 5 and 24.
So, should you keep your child indoors to prevent them from being part of the statistic? Definitely not! That’s why the ADA and other industry organizations came together to use National Facial Protection Month as a platform to help parents understand the importance of this topic.
We know you want to keep your children safe, but you also want them to be able to enjoy their lives. And, taking part in sports and recreation is an important part of your child’s growing years. It keeps them healthy and physically active. That’s why we’ve put together steps you can take to make sure your child is safe when they participate in sports or recreation activities.
National Facial Protection Month Tips
Prevention is the best way to allow your kids to remain physically active and enjoy their sports activities while lowering their risk of becoming seriously injured. Here are some great prevention tips to avoid head, mouth, and facial injury for your active child.
Mouth Guards Are a MUST!
Mouth guards aren’t only for kids undergoing orthodontic treatment. Just think about all the time and money you put into orthodontic treatment. Don’t you think you should protect your smile after your braces come off, as well? Everyone who plays a contact sport should invest in a mouth guard. While the over-the-counter ones can be molded to your teeth, most orthodontists and dentists offer customized mouth guards that hold your teeth in place even better. And, they are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury.
Gear Up for Better Protection
Your mouth guard isn’t the only piece of protective gear you should worry about. When children play sports, there’s a whole world of protective gear available to help them avoid serious injury. Helmets, wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads, and chest protection are just some of the appropriate sports gear available for your kids. And, even if they aren’t participating in a rough, contact sport, helmets should always be used during recreational activities such as skating and biking.
Face Shields Can Prevent Severe Facial Damage
Speaking of protective gear, face shields do more than just protect your skin. Any type of sports ball or puck can do extensive damage to your face. Face shields will save your face from severe facial damage at any age.
Support Mandatory Rules
Another important part of prevention is to support the mandatory assignment of protective gear in children’s sports. Football, hockey, and boxing are three sports that require the use of mouth guards. Talk to your child’s coach or recreational department to find out what protective gear is mandatory for each sport. If they don’t have rules in place, push to have mandatory rules set. Parents can be a powerful voice for their children!
National Facial Protection Month works to bring awareness to the importance of protective gear for your child during sports activities. Although we focus on the topic this month, providing your family with proper facial protection should be something you practice all year long. For more information on how you can prevent sports injuries for your children, talk to a member of our team. Your child’s safety is our number one priority.