April is National Facial Protection Month!

April is National Facial Protection Month!
Posted on 03/26/2014

baseballWe would like to inform our patients and their families that April is National Facial Protection Month in the United States! During this time, dentists and orthodontists across the country will be emphasizing the importance of wearing protective mouth guards while taking part in organized sports and other physical activities.

The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety reports that dental injuries account for the majority of injuries sustained during sports participation. They also tell us that an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouth guard. Unfortunately, often times these injuries result in serious damage to oral structures that requires medical intervention.

A mouth guard can prevent dental injuries such as chipped teeth, root fractures, loose teeth, torn gums, lacerated lips and knocked out teeth. The damage caused by a ball, puck or serious fall can prove devastating when a mouth guard is not worn. This type of mishap can result in a serious injury and even a lifetime of oral health issues.

Several Types of Mouth Guards

There are several types of mouth guards available.

  • Ready-made or stock mouth guards are inexpensive and come pre-formed and ready to wear. Unfortunately, this type of mouth guard often doesn't fit well and can make breathing and talking difficult.
  • Boil and bite mouth guards offer a better fit than stock mouth guards. These mouth guards are designed to be softened in hot water and then inserted so they adapt to the shape of the mouth.
  • The best mouth guards by far are, custom-made by your dentist. A custom-fitted mouth guard is comfortable, allows you to breathe and speak well and provides the best protection to the teeth, gums and jawbone.

Mouth Guards for Braces

A properly fitted mouth guard is especially important for people who wear braces or other orthodontic appliances. This is because an injury to the face can damage the braces or appliance to cause serious lacerations of the cheek, lips or gums. There are special mouth guards available that are made specifically for people who wear braces. Many sporting goods retailers sell these, as do online sports equipment stores.

A mouth guard should always be worn when playing all types of sports including but not limited to:

  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Wrestling
  • Field hockey
  • Soccer
  • Rugby
  • Handball
  • Gymnastics

It's also important to wear a mouth guard when skateboarding, cheerleading, inline skating or while taking part in any physical activity that poses a risk for injuries to the face and mouth.

If you have any questions about choosing a mouth guard, please don't hesitate to contact our Oakland, NJ orthodontic office as we're always available to speak with you!