April is National Facial Protection Month and dental experts at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), American Dental Association (ADA), American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD), and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) are reminding athletes and recreational sports players to wear mouth guards to protect their teeth.

Mouth guards can help prevent serious, painful facial injuries that affect the mouth and teeth.

Experts from the five dental associations are urging parents, caregivers, athletes, and coaches to be proactive about staying safe by using a mouth guard. They offer the following statistics to keep in mind as the spring sports season begins:

  • 3 – Types of mouth guards: Custom-fitted mouth guards are made by your dentist for you personally. Stock mouth guards come pre-formed and may offer a bulky fit. Boil and bite mouth guards are softened in boiling water and then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth.
  • 7 to 11 – The ages during which children are most vulnerable to sports-related mouth injuries.
  • 60 – The number of times that athletes are more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they’re not wearing a mouth guard.
  • All – How many sports during which you should wear a mouth guard. Collision and contact sports may be high-risk for the mouth, but you can still experience a dental injury from other sports such as gymnastics or skating.