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Are you a student athlete? If so, did you know that many sports injuries can be prevented by wearing appropriate protective gear?

April is National Facial Protection Month and Spillers Orthodontics reminds athletes, their parents and coaches to play it safe by wearing mouth guards and appropriate protective gear when participating in activities that could cause injuries.

Mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available. Over-the-counter versions may cost as little as $5. The best protection comes from custom-made mouth guards. Mouth guards can protect teeth and jaws, but they only provide protection when they are worn, so parents and coaches should remind youngsters to always use a mouth guard when participating in any activity during which the mouth could come into contact with a hard object or the pavement.

“Athletes who wear braces should consult their orthodontist for a recommendation of the best mouth guard to wear during orthodontic treatment,” says Dr. Spillers.

Consistent use of other protective equipment is important, too. Helmets save lives and prevent head injuries. They should be worn for activities such as bicycling, skateboarding or skating on in-line skates. Helmet wear is mandated for many organized sports. Helmets should be worn for any activity that puts the head at risk.

Face guards, devices made of plastic or metal that attach to baseball helmets, help to prevent facial injuries as well.

National Facial Protection Month is co-sponsored annually by the American Association of Orthodontists, the oldest and largest dental specialty organization in the world, and by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Academy for Sports Dentistry and the American Dental Association.

To schedule an appointment for a custom mouth guard at Spillers Orthodontics, please call 478-953-2700.

To learn more about National Facial Protection Month from the AAO, please click here.