April is National Facial Protection Month and Jackson Creek Dental Group would like to remind everyone to make sure they wear a mouth guard during recreational and organized sports to be safe and help prevent dental injuries. Just think, if you lost any teeth it could affect your smile, how you eat and potentially your speech. Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports. Research estimates that about 2% of all children or adolescents who participate in sports will eventually suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention  and athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they are not wearing a mouth guard . Many oral and facial injuries can be less severe or even prevented by wearing safety equipment like mouth guards and helmets.
Prevention, properly fitted protective equipment and adequate preparation are key to minimizing sports injuries. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85%. Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent serious physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing contact sports to riding a bicycle. Helmets may also save your teeth if they come with attached faceguards.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries, sports accidents account for 10-38% of all dental injuries in children and are most often caused by direct hits with a hard object, such as a ball or player-to-player contact.
Mouth guards can protect you or your child against many dental injuries, including cracked, broken or knocked out teeth. They also provide protection against injuries to the lips, cheeks, tongue, bone, jaw and surrounding tissue. The American Dental Association states that mouth guards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year. Although there are several types of mouth guards available, the Academy for Sports Dentistry warns that the best mouth guards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to provide the best protection and be the most effective. A professional quality custom mouth guard can be fitted by your dentist for maximum protection, proper breathing and even cushion against impacts. Everyone has different idiosyncrasies that should be noted in the design and fabrication of mouth guards, including: jaw relationships, age and size of mouth, number and shape of teeth, erupting teeth and braces or other dental appliances. This is a service we can provide to you right here at Jackson Creek Dental Group.
So be safe. Wear a mouth guard when playing recreational or organized sports; wear a helmet and protective eyewear; wear a face shield when applicable along with whatever other protective gear is mandatory for the sport you are involved in. Choose the right combination of safety equipment to protect your smile, head and face. Tell your family and friends to do the same. If you need a custom fitted mouth guard just give us a call at 209.223.2712. It’s a smart investment!
 Source National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety
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