Play it Safe: Prevent Childhood Injuries on the Field With Simple Sports Safety Precautions
ST. LOUIS, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — April is National Facial Protection Month, and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) are teaming up to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports.
A child’s mouth and face can be easily injured if the proper precautions are not used while playing sports. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of the 7 million sports- and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by youth as young as 5 years-old. Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) forecasted that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events- yet, in a survey* commissioned by the AAO, 67% of parents admitted that their children do not wear a mouth guard during organized sports. The NYSSF says that athletes who do not wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth. This raises a question: if mouth guards offer a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to help dramatically decrease the risk of oral injuries, why aren’t more kids wearing them?
The AAO survey* found that 84% of children do not wear mouth guards while playing organized sports because they are not required to wear them, even though they may be required to wear other protective materials, such as helmets and shoulder pads. Mouth guards can be one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available. Not only do mouth guards save teeth, they help protect jaws. Children wearing braces have slightly higher risk of oral injuries, including mouth lacerations, if their braces are hit by a ball or another player.
An effective mouth guard holds teeth in place, resists tearing and allows for normal speech and breathing. It should cover the teeth, and depending on the patient’s bite, also the gums. An orthodontist can recommend the best mouth guard for an athlete who wears braces. In fact, just by wearing a properly fitted mouth guard, many accidents and traumatic injuries could be prevented. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year.
The dental experts at the AAO, AAOMS, AAPD and ASD urge parents/caregivers and coaches to protect young athletes as they head out this spring. How can children play it safe on the field? The AAO, AAOMS, AAPD and ASD dental experts offer these important tips:
- Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports. Mouth guards can help prevent injury to a person’s jaw, mouth and teeth; and they are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury. Dentists and dental specialists can make customized mouth guards.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.
- Wear protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
- Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
About National Facial Protection Month
National Facial Protection Month is sponsored annually by the American Association of Orthodontists (www.mylifemysmile.org), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (www.aaoms.org), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (www.aapd.org), and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (http://www.academyforsportsdentistry.org/).
About the American Association of Orthodontists
Founded in 1900, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is the world’s oldest and largest dental specialty organization. It represents 17,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. The AAO encourages and sponsors key research to enable its members to provide the highest quality of care to patients, and is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws. Orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized education in orthodontics beyond dental school at an accredited orthodontic residency program.
About the Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Saving Faces, Changing Lives® — The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) is the professional organization representing more than 9,000 oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the United States. AAOMS supports its fellows’ and members’ ability to practice their specialty through education, research and advocacy. AAOMS fellows and members comply with rigorous continuing education requirements and submit to periodic office examinations, ensuring the public that all office procedures and personnel meet stringent national standards.
About the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Founded in 1947, the AAPD is a not-for-profit membership organization representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry. AAPD’s 8,000 members are predominately pediatric dentists and primary care providers who deliver comprehensive specialty treatments for infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special health care needs. As advocates for children’s oral health, the AAPD aims to promote the use of evidence-based policies and guidelines, foster research concerning pediatric oral health, and educate health care providers and the public to improve children’s oral health. For further information, please visit the AAPD website at www.aapd.org.
About the Academy for Sports Dentistry
The Academy for Sports Dentistry was founded in 1983 as a forum for dentists, physicians, trainers, coaches, dental technicians, and educators interested in exchanging ideas related to sports dentistry and the dental needs of athletes at risk to sports’ injuries. The Academy is an organization dedicated to health and fitness through education, service and research pertaining to the prevention and treatment of sports related orofacial injuries and diseases. Activities include the collection and dissemination of information on dental athletic injuries and the encouragement of research on the prevention of dental injuries to athletes. This organization exists to promote the advancement of research pertaining to sports dentistry; the utilization of this knowledge for the promotion of better approaches to the prevention and the treatment of athletic injuries and oral disease; and the improvement of communication and cooperation among all members of the health care community in order to share and utilize this knowledge for the benefit of the people.
* The AAO commissioned Impulse Research Corp. to conduct the AAO 2009 Protective Sports Gear Survey. The survey was conducted in February 2009 online with a random sample of 1,022 men and women, ages 18 years old or older, from the U.S. Survey participants were carefully selected to closely match U.S. population demographics and the respondents are representative of American men and women 18 years old or older who have children between the ages of eight and 17, who participate in organized sports. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is +/- 3 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.
Pam Paladin ?Janie Dunham Erika Skorupskas Shelly Lott Marketing and Member/Consumer Relations Manager Manager, Editorial and Production Public Relations Manager Executive Secretary American Association of Orthodontists American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial American Academy of Pediatric Surgeons Dentistry Academy for Sports Dentistry (314) 993-1700, ext. 524 (847) 678-6200 (312) 337-2169, ext. 27 (217) 227-3431 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com ------------------------------------- ----------------- -------------- -------------------------------- Kristen Ingraham Finn Partners for AAO (212) 593-5801 firstname.lastname@example.org ------------------------
SOURCE American Association of Orthodontists