Play it safe with the right equipment

100 percent of athletes in contact or collision sports should wear a mouth guard.

Five million teeth are injured or knocked out every year, according to American Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS). Spring often brings a flood of players to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms that are suffering with head, mouth and facial injuries due to sports-related accidents. Many oral and facial injuries can be easily prevented with the use of sports safety equipment.

In honor of National Facial Protection Month this April, here are five simple safety tips for keeping children on the field.

Mouth Guards are a Must. Mouth guards are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury, and dentists and dental specialists can make customized mouth guards for extra comfort and protection

Helmets are always Helpful.  Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.  

Have 20/20 Vision with Protective Eyewear.  Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.

Face Shields Save Skin…and more.  Hockey pucks, footballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.

Athletes don’t have to play at a professional level to be seriously injured. Whether a child is playing a contact sport or just monkeying around the playground, accidents can happen. The best prevention is protection. By wearing the proper equipment, children and adults can keep themselves safe from potential dangerous facial injuries. 

“It’s important that athletes wear facial protection during practice and games. It’s a very small step or piece that anyone of any age can do to protect themselves. It can be scary when accidents happen not only for the players but the parents, the coaches and the spectators and it’s an unneeded stressor that is most often preventable when facial protection is worn,” says Aspirus Licensed Athletic Trainer Aaron Bestul.

Whether mandatory or not, wearing helmets, face shields, mouth and ear guards, or protective eyewear, is crucial for players to prevent facial injury.

For more information about youth safety topics visit