April is National Facial Protection Month

National Facial Protection Month Logo

Today may be April Fools’ Day…
but Facial Protection is No Joke!


Research estimates that about 2% of all children or adolescents who participate in sports eventually will suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries, sports accidents account for 10 to 39% of all dental injuries in children. Furthermore, most of these injuries are caused by direct hits with a hard object (such as a puck or ball) and player-to-player contact.


April is National Facial Protection Month

National Facial Protection Month strives to raise public awareness and to remind parents, caregivers, coaches, and athletes to play it safe while playing sports. National Facial Protection Month is sponsored annually by:
the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD),
the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD),
the American Dental Association (ADA),
the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), and
the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).


The Dental Associations Offer These Five Tips to Help Prevent Facial Injury:

1. Wear a Mouth Guard
Wearing a mouth guard when playing contact sports reduces the risk of knocking out teeth or breaking your jaw. Mouth guards are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury, and customized mouth guards that allow for normal speech and breathing can be made by your dentist.

2. Wear a Helmet
Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.

3. Wear Protective Eyewear
Eyes are vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.

4. Wear a Face Shield
Face shields can help to avoid scratched and bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs, and racquetballs can cause serious facial damage at any age.

5. Make Protective Gear Mandatory for All Sports
Athletes who participate in football, hockey, and boxing are required to wear mouth guards. If mouth guards have been proven to significantly decrease the risk of oral injuries, why aren’t they mandatory in all sports? Protective gear is important, particularly when participating in:

 Acrobatics Field Hockey Racquetball Squash
 Band  Football  Rugby  Surfing
 Baseball  Gymnastics  Shot Put  Volleyball
 Basketball  Handball  Skateboarding  Water Polo
 Bicycling  Ice Hockey  Skiing  Weightlifting
 Boxing  Inline Skating  Skydiving  Wrestling
 Equestrian Events  Lacrosse  Soccer
 Field Events  Martial Arts  Softball


Prevention is Key

Prevention is the best policy, but accidents do happen. Knowing what to do in the moments immediately after an injury to the head, neck, or face can make all the difference in the healing process. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons offers a handy, tip-filled, wallet-sized first aid card to help you make the right steps.

For more information about the prevention and treatment of facial injury, visit MyOMS.org.
For information and resources on facial protection and mouthguards visit the American Dental Association’s consumer website, MouthHealthy.org.


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