Smile Train cleft lip and palate charity is partnering with the New York Islanders hockey team to celebrate National Facial Protection Month. Throughout the entire month of April, dental professionals and organizations across the United States stand together to raise awareness and promote the safety and education of protecting the face and head. Smile Train and the Islanders are joining the initiative to express that it is not only important to have a bright smile, but to protect that healthy smile as well. The social media campaign kicked off on Tuesday, April 2, at the New York Islanders first home game of the month vs. the Winnipeg Jets, and will continue through Tuesday, April 30. Smile Train is asking participants to take photographs of themselves smiling and then upload the images to Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr using the hash tag #SmileNFPM. For every photo uploaded, Islanders’ team dentist, Dr. Marc Herman, will donate $1.00 to the charity. When I asked Dr. Herman how he became involved with the New York Islanders, he said: "I have been a dentist in private practice for 34 years and have been teaching 21 residents at North Shore University Hospital/Long Island Jewish Medical Center for 34 years. I am Chief of the Divisions of General Dentistry, Sleep Medicine, Craniomandibular Disorders, Ethics and Sports Medicine, so it was a natural fit to be the Official Team Dentist of the New York Islanders." The importance of safety during recreational and organized sports cannot be overemphasized. Last weekend the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team captain Sidney Crosby suffered a broken jaw in their game against the New York Islanders when a puck struck him in the mouth. Read more here. Jumping on board in support of safety are the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Association of Orthodontists, and the American Dental Association. These organizations are all teaming up as well this month to remind parents, coaches, and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports. Read more here. Co-founder and chairman of Smile Train and owner of the New York Islanders, Charles B. Wang, added, “It has always been my mission to help children around the world and this is a terrific opportunity for Smile Train to work together with the Islanders players to educate everyone on the importance of facial protection and safety and to help bring more smiles to more children who need our help through Smile Train. We are extremely thankful to Dr. Marc Herman for his generous contribution and support.” So, what piece of advice would Dr. Herman give to parents of children who play sports? He told me: "To protect the oral cavity and teeth, mouthguards should be worn during all events, including practices. The mouthguards should be fitted by a dentist to ensure coverage and protection of all of the teeth. Visit the dentist regularly so impending troubles can be identified and resolved before they become difficulties." And to kids: "Three words to protect the mouth and teeth: well-fitting mouthguards, mouthguards, mouthguards! “As the Islanders’ team dentist I have seen many cases of injury to the face and mouth and cannot stress how important it is to protect these fragile body parts. It is such a privilege to work with a charity such as Smile Train, who pride themselves on bettering youth and their families.” Photographs submitted via Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr will also have the chance to be displayed on the Jumbotron during the remainder of the Islanders' home games.
MORE ARTICLES ABOUT CLEFT PALATE ...NYUCD's Juhee Jeong selected by American Association of Anatomists for 2013 YAPA AwardCleft lip and palate present different challenges throughout child development