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Smiling Woman Holds Transparent Plastic Mouth Guard In Her Hand

It’s National Facial Protection Month – Safeguarding Your Smile During Sports

April is more than just the onset of spring; it’s also recognized as National Facial Protection Month, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding your smile during sports activities. While engaging in physical activities offers numerous health benefits, it’s essential to prioritize dental safety to prevent serious injuries that can affect your oral health and overall well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of facial protection during sports and offer practical tips for ensuring your smile stays safe and healthy.

Understanding the Risks

Participating in sports and recreational activities exposes individuals to various risks of dental injuries. Contact sports like football, hockey, and basketball pose a higher risk of facial trauma due to collisions, falls, or impacts with equipment or opponents. Even non-contact sports such as soccer, baseball, and cycling can lead to dental injuries caused by accidental collisions or falls.

The Importance of Mouthguards

Mouthguards are essential protective devices designed to cushion and shield the teeth, gums, lips, and jaw from impact forces during sports activities. They help absorb and distribute the force of blows to the face, reducing the risk of dental injuries such as broken teeth, knocked-out teeth, fractured jaws, and soft tissue damage.

There are three main types of mouthguards:

1. Stock Mouthguards: These pre-formed, ready-to-wear mouthguards are available at most sporting goods stores. While affordable and convenient, they offer the least protection and may not provide a comfortable or secure fit.

2. Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards: These mouthguards are made from thermoplastic material that softens when boiled and then molded to fit the individual’s teeth. Boil-and-bite mouthguards offer better customization and protection compared to stock mouthguards and are widely used by amateur and recreational athletes.

3. Custom-Fitted Mouthguards: Custom-fitted mouthguards are professionally made by a dentist using impressions of the patient’s teeth. They provide the best fit, comfort, and protection, making them the preferred choice for athletes participating in high-impact sports or individuals with braces or other dental appliances.

Young male putting in professional mouthguard before boxing sparring training

Tips for Choosing and Using Mouthguards

– Select the Right Type: Choose a mouthguard that fits comfortably, securely, and offers adequate protection based on the level of contact expected during sports activities.

– Replace Regularly: Inspect mouthguards regularly for signs of wear or damage and replace them as needed to ensure optimal protection.

– Clean and Store Properly: Clean mouthguards after each use with mild soap and water, and store them in a ventilated container to prevent bacterial growth and maintain hygiene.

– Wear Consistently: Wear mouthguards consistently during all sports activities, including practices and games, to reduce the risk of dental injuries.

Promoting Awareness and Prevention

During National Facial Protection Month, dental offices, sports organizations, and community groups can collaborate to raise awareness about the importance of facial protection during sports. Educational campaigns, school presentations, and promotional events can highlight the benefits of wearing mouthguards and provide resources for athletes, coaches, and parents to promote dental safety.

National Facial Protection Month serves as a reminder of the critical role that mouthguards play in safeguarding smiles during sports activities. By wearing properly fitted and well-maintained mouthguards, athletes can significantly reduce the risk of dental injuries and enjoy their favorite sports with confidence. As April brings a renewed focus on facial protection, let’s prioritize dental safety and ensure that every smile remains healthy, intact, and protected on the field, court, or track.

If you need a dentist for cosmetic, restorative, preventative or family dentistry, we offer comprehensive dental services in East Longmeadow, MA. Reach out to us today to make an appointment!