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Take Five: Sports Safety Tips for National Facial Protection Month

April 01, 2015

Contact Information:
E-mail: mediarelations@ada.org (Journalists) or Contact ADA (All Others)

Rosemont, Il., – Calling all MVPs, team captains, full roster players, practice squads, coaches, teachers and parents/caregivers. Five of the nation’s top dental associations want to remind everyone to play it safe during recreational and organized sports to help prevent serious, painful facial injuries that can take the fun out of the game. Take five, and take in these five simple safety tips.

  1. Mouth guards are a must. Mouth guards are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury, and dentists and dental specialists can make customized mouth guards that hold teeth in place and allow for normal speech and breathing. 
  2. Helmets are always helpful. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.
  3. Have 20/20 vision with protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
  4. Face shields save skin…and more. Hockey pucks, footballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
  5. Cheer and shout out your support for mandatory protective gear. 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 is it not mandatory in every sport for kids to wear them?

Whether your child is playing a contact sport or just monkeying around on the monkey bars, accidents happen. A recently published study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a database of injuries treated at hospital emergency departments, for the period 2001-2008. Researchers found the five most common causes of childhood injuries were, in order of frequency, basketball, football, bicycling, playgrounds and soccer. 1

An estimated 12 million people between the ages of 5 and 22 years suffer a sport-related injury annually, which leads to 20 million lost days of school2 and approximately $33 billion in healthcare costs.3 Yet, some of these injuries could be prevented with protective gear. “A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of any athlete's protective equipment,” says Dr. Paul Nativi, DMD, FASD, and past president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry. “Talk with your dentist about what kinds of activities your family enjoys and ask about ways to make sure their teeth and face stay protected.”
 
Every April, National Facial Protection Month strives to raise public awareness and remind parents/caregivers, coaches and athletes to play it safe while playing sports. The Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), and the American Dental Association (ADA) are collaborating to promote the 2015 April is National Facial Protection Month observance to help people learn more about how simple it can be to take five and make a play for better safety that protects not only your mouth and face, but also your peace of mind.

References:
1.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141013152656.htm.
2. National Athletic Trainers’ Association. (unpublished media review).
3. Ferguson RW. Safe Kids Worldwide Analysis of Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) data, 2013.

About National Facial Protection Month   
National Facial Protection Month is sponsored annually during the month of April by the Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeonsAmerican Association of Orthodontists, and the American Dental Association. Visit their Web sites for more information and helpful materials.

Media Contracts:

Pam  Paladin
Marketing and Member/Consumer Relations Manager
American Association of Orthodontists
(314)993-­1700, ext. 524
ppaladin@aaortho.org
Janie Dunham
Editorial Manager
American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
(847)678‐6200
jdunham@aaoms.org
Erika Hoeft
Public Relations Senior Manager
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (312)337-2169, ext. 27
erika@aapd.org
Shelly Lott
Executive Secretary
Academy for Sports Dentistry
(217)227­-3431 sportsdentistry@consolidated.net
Julia Nissim
Manager, Media Relations
American Dental Association
(312)440-2806
nissimj@ada.org

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 159,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org