Five of the nation’s top dental associations are reminding athletes of all ages to play it safe by wearing a mouth guard during recreational and organized sports this spring.
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 National Facial Protection Month in April. National Facial Protection Month strives to raise public awareness and remind parents/caregivers, coaches and athletes to play it safe while playing sports.
Research estimates that about 2 percent of all children or adolescents who participate in sports eventually will suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention.
“A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of any athlete's protective equipment,” says Paul Nativi, past president of ASD. “Mouth guards protect the teeth from being knocked out, broken and displaced. Mouth guards prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth. They also help prevent injuries to the mandible (lower jaw) and temporomandibular joint in the jaw. Tooth loss incurs a tremendous financial, emotional, and psychological expense. Protect what you have - wear a properly fitted mouth guard.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries, sports accidents reportedly account for 10-39 percent of all dental injuries in children and are most often caused by direct hits with a hard object, such as a puck or ball, and player-to-player contact.
The dental associations offer the following five tips to help prevent facial injury:
- Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports: 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.
- 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.
- Make protective gear mandatory for all sports: Athletes who participate in football, hockey and boxing are required to wear mouth guards. Mouth guards have been proven to significantly decrease the risk of oral injuries, and should be considered standard in all sports, particularly:
- equestrian events
- field events
- field hockey
- ice hockey
- inline skating
- martial arts
- shot put
- water polo
If you find your patients with their noses buried in their smart phones and tablets while they wait for their appointments to begin, recommend an App to preview your oral hygiene message. Toothsavers calls on users’ competitive spirit to get kids brushing.
The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, a coalition of 36 leading organizations in the field of oral health, and the national Ad Council recently released the free app to encourage better oral health habits. Find Toothsavers online and in the Google Play and Apple iTunes stores
The game features:
- 10 colorful characters whose teeth kids can clean with swipes and taps.
- 10 two-minute animations to make brushing in real life fun.
- 10 colorful cartoon teeth that animate to your voice in two-player mode.
- An interactive map to chart each day and night that kids brush with Toothsavers.
- New characters unlocked by brushing two minutes, twice a day with Toothsavers.
- A parents' section to designate daily brushing times and monitor kids’ brushing progress on a calendar.
Toothsavers is the first mobile app to be entirely created by the Ad Council — a nonprofit organization that has been producing public service campaigns since 1942. It represents a big milestone in the Council’s efforts to use gaming and mobile technology to effect social change.
The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives shares the view that no child should be in pain and suffer broader health issues or endure the social stigma and lack of opportunity resulting from untreated dental diseases and conditions. Its primary mission is to teach parents and caregivers, as well as children themselves, to take control of their own health through oral disease prevention.
This campaign aims to motivate parents to take action to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure their kids are brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
Do you remember the Ad Council? They were responsible for all the Public Service Announcements were remember from childhood:
- “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk,”
- “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste”
- and, more recently “I am an American.”
The Ad Council has turned its attention to National Brush Day, which will be celebrated Nov. 1. The day after Halloween will be an ideal time to remind parents and children about the importance of good habits for healthy teeth.
The Ad Council is armed with facts like these:
- Dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease
- Less than half of children brush their teeth twice a day
- In the United States, oral disease causes kids to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually
- Dental decay affects 16.5 million children in the United States.
To combat these trends, the Ad Council is working with the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives to supply parents with simple ways to improve their children’s oral health. They’re the same recommendations you give your own patients about how much toothpaste to use and when to start taking a child to the dentist. But they’ve also built a website.
2min2x.org offers a collection of free, two-minute videos— featuring characters from Sesame Street, Cartoon Network and My Kazoo —which kids can watch while brushing. The two-minute clips also help parents easily measure the amount of brushing time that is recommended by leading dental health experts.
Find your child’s favorite character there today.
If your patients are fans of Dr. Oz, be prepared for their questions about the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. The Dr. Oz Show will focus today on the question, “Are your silver fillings making you sick?”
The American Dental Association has long argued that dental amalgam is a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. The Chicago Dental Society supports that position, as it is based on scientific reviews by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Life Sciences Research Office, the American Medical Association and other respected organizations.
Read more about the ADA’s position online.
As in all cases, patients are encouraged to talk to their dentists about their oral health concerns – including those regarding the use of amalgam fillings.
Here are a few more resources to consider when patients come to you with questions about amalgam:
One of the wonderful things about the Midwinter Meeting is the number of relationships that get rekindled on site. We’ve used this space before to promote all the places at McCormick Place West where old friends can reconnect.
But we’re equally excited to meet new friends at the 148th Midwinter Meeting. The Chicago Dental Society will welcome 103 new exhibiting companies to the Exhibit Hall next month.
It’s exciting for a few reasons. It means our attendees will have access to more products and services this year to benefit their practice of dentistry. It also means that more companies are making the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting part of their business plans. We’re proud to be their partner and we wish them every success.
Among the new exhibitors in 2013 will be California-based Your HealthCredit in Booth 3847.
“Your HealthCredit is thrilled to be a part of the Midwinter Meeting because our patient financing solution will be a real game changer for a lot of dental practices. By offering multiple financing solutions under one application, treating more patients optimally just got a whole lot easier,” said Barbara Barry, SVP Marketing.
Across the Exhibit Hall in Booth 1047 will be Ghost Mfg., from St. Joseph, MI.
“We feel blessed and are very excited to be an exhibitor at the Midwinter Meeting in 2013. This meeting will give our small business the chance to share our revolutionary new Multi-Axis Spiral Suction high-volume evacuator dental suction tip with a large number of professionals in the dental community,” said CEO and inventor David Ronto. “We feel our device will simplify the lives of dentists, assistants, and hygienists alike and welcome this opportunity.”
Find a complete list of new exhibitors on the Midwinter Meeting Mobile App (it’s new for 2013) and then plan your visit to the Exhibit Hall using our Virtual Exhibit Hall.