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National Facial Protection Month: Use AAO Tools to Educate Your Community

Are your patients who are active in sports protecting themselves from facial injuries? National Facial Protection Month (April) is an ideal time to educate your patients and community about the importance of mouth guard use. National Facial Protection Month is sponsored by the AAO, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Academy for Sports Dentistry and the American Dental Association.

Resources that AAO members can use to promote facial protection in their practices and communities include an all-new month of facial protection social media posts and many other tools.

Social Media Reminders Reach Patients and Friends
– The social media page in the National Facial Protection Month section of Market Your Practice at includes access to a series of social media posts – one for each day from April 1-30.

– You may also create your own posts by downloading AAO stock images of mouth guards.

– The AAO “Bubble Wrap” video, available for linking or downloading, offers a humorous introduction to a serious subject that is just right for social media.

In-Office Visuals Get Patients’ Attention
–  Download and print AAO facial protection posters showing activities in which wearing a mouth guard is essential to safety.  Posters include:

● “When do you need a mouth guard?”
● “Play hard. Play smart. Play safe.”
●“Think helmets and mouth guards are for sissies? Think again.”
● “Bring home the prize – and your winning smile!”
● “You’re never too young to Do it Right.”

The “When do you need a mouth guard?” poster may be downloaded as files sized at 8.5” by 11”, 11” by 17” or 22” by 34”.  The other posters are available at 8.5” by 11”. If a copy and print service will be printing a poster, be sure to download the AAO Permission to Print letter on the Posters and Fliers page. The letter will meet printers’ requirements when printing copyrighted items from the AAO website.

– Use mouth guards of different shapes and colors for an in-office display. Download and place copies of the educational flier, “When Do You Need a Mouth Guard?” and leave them by your display so that patients and parents can help themselves.

Build Community Awareness
– Customizable press materials available in the Facial Protection Month section of make it easy to provide for local media outlets with story ideas and offer yourself as a professional resource on this topic.

– A community education night in your office for parents or coaches is a great way to develop new relationships for your practice and provide important information about why everyone, especially those wearing orthodontic appliances, should wear mouth guards while playing sports. You can also offer to give a presentation at a local school, YMCA, YWCA, JCCA, Boys & Girls Club, local athletic associations, youth organizations or gyms/workout venues.

Downloadable materials that make good handouts for coaches and parents include:
●The AAO fliers, “Prevent Accidents, But Know What to do if One Occurs,” and “When Do You Need a Mouth Guard?” The fliers may be customized by AAO members for community distribution or posting on practice websites;
● Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheets, including one in Spanish, address concussion and other sports injuries. They are linked for download in the Fact Sheets portion of the Facial Protection Month section.