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
It’s back to school time – which means that a fast breakfast of cold cereal before a mad dash to the bus stop will return to many of your patients’ routines.
They might be interested to know that a glass of milk after eating sugary cereals may prevent cavities, according to new research from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. The research is published in the July issue of the Journal of The American Dental Association.
Dry ready-to-eat, sugar-added cereals combine refined sugar and starch. When those carbohydrates are consumed, bacteria in the dental plaque on tooth surfaces produce acids, said Christine Wu, professor of pediatric dentistry and director of cariology, who served as principal investigator of the study. Reports have shown that eating carbohydrates four times daily, or in quantities greater than 60 grams per person per day, increases the risk of cavities.
The new study involved 20 adults eating 20 grams of dry Froot Loops cereal, then drinking different beverages: whole milk, 100 percent apple juice, or tap water.
"Our study results show that only milk was able to reduce acidity of dental plaque resulting from consuming sugary Froot Loops," the researchers reported. "We believe that milk helped mitigate the damaging effect of fermentable carbohydrate and overcome the previously lowered plaque pH."
Dr. Wu said many consumers think that since milk is considered to be cavity-fighting, acid production by plaque bacteria can be minimized by mixing it with cereal. However, in an unpublished study in her lab, it was discovered that the combination of Froot Loops and milk became syrupy. Eating cereal combined with milk lowered plaque acidity to levels similar to that obtained after rinsing with a 10 percent sugar solution.
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:
If you’re thinking about National Children’s Dental Health Month, you’re not alone. The Chicago Dental Society Foundation has plans, too, for the Healthy Kids Brush Up! program – and they need your help.
This campaign puts toothbrushes, toothpaste and volunteer dentists in local classrooms to encourage better oral hygiene habits among students. Nearly 200 schools will receive more than 56,000 toothbrushes next month — paid for in part by donations from our CDS members and other friends of the CDS Foundation.
Help us extend the program through your donation today. Your $15 gift will provide a whole classroom with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and educational materials to make them meaningful.
Please donate now. And share the link on your Facebook Page and Twitter feed to further our fundraising efforts.
(The fundraising page also has buttons in the upper right hand corner to help you share the page via email to your friends and associates or on your Pinterest page, but we don't want to be greedy...)
access to care
The American Dental Association and dentists across the country have long encouraged patients to stop smoking. The reasons why are many:
- stained teeth and tongue
- dulled sense of taste and smell
- slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery
- difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
- gum disease
- oral cancer.
But today, Nov. 15, it's a much bigger deal. This is the day that the American Cancer Society celebrates the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking today.
By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life.
Need another reason to encourage your patients to quit? Share with them this Confession of an Ex-Smoker, originally published by the Northbrook-based American College of Chest Physicians.