April is National Facial Protection Month. With spring sports starting up, it’s the perfect time to remind patients about the importance of wearing mouth guards. Whether you have braces or not, make sure you and your teammates are well protected against sports injuries to the face and head. Simple, inexpensive protective gear can go a long way in preventing serious injuries and keeping you safe this season.
Benefits of Mouth Guards
Mouth guards are extremely effective in protecting against sports-related injuries to the teeth, mouth, and face. If you have braces, you should always wear a mouth guard. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at risk for serious injuries that may compromise your orthodontic treatment and even require surgery. Serious trauma can occur to the lips and gums if you get hit in the mouth with a ball, bat, hockey stick, elbow, or other object. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, “mouth guards help buffer an impact or blow that otherwise could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face.” They may also “reduce the rate and severity of concussions.”
How Do Mouth Guards Work?
Mouth guards protect the teeth and face by absorbing high-impact energy from potentially traumatic blows. They are most commonly used in contact sports like football, hockey, and boxing. However, studies have shown that they also help prevent mouth and jaw injuries in non-contact sports like basketball, soccer, gymnastics, biking, and skateboarding.
More Ways to Prevent Sports Injuries
As a member of the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), Dr. Dougherty encourages you and your teammates to wear mouth guards and other protective gear when playing organized and recreational sports. In addition to mouth guards, be sure to wear helmets, face guards, and protective eyewear as needed.
For more info on National Facial Protection Month, as well as helpful tips about mouth guards and facial protection, visit mylifemysmile.org. To learn more about the prevention and treatment of facial injuries, visit MyOMS.org.