Saving Face

Avoiding facial injuries the goal of National Facial Protection Month

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FRIDAY, April 2, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- April is the month to save face.

It's National Facial Protection Month and pediatric dentists want to remind children and their parents to wear proper mouth, face and head protection when they're playing sports or doing other activities that could result in a facial injury.

By the time they're teenagers, nearly half of the youngsters in the United States will have suffered injuries to their teeth or mouth that require medial or dental attention. But the right protective gear can make a big difference. Mouth protectors, helmets, protective eyewear, face shields and other protective gear prevent almost 250,000 sports-related injuries in the United States each year.

Here are 10 ways to protect the mouth, face and head:

  • Wear a mouth guard for any contact sport. Mouth guards help prevent jaw, mouth and teeth injuries. They also cost much less than the price of recovering from an injury.
  • Wear a helmet. It protects your head by absorbing the energy of an impact.
  • Wear protective eyewear.
  • Wear a face shield.
  • Be cautious around animals. Each year about 44,000 people in the United States suffer facial injuries from dog bites. Adults should supervise children playing with family pets.
  • Use seat belts and child safety seats.
  • Protect babies and toddlers from potential injuries in the home. Pad sharp corners on tables, put safety locks on cabinets, install stairwell security gates and secure windows.
  • If you're a spectator, be alert for foul balls and flying pucks.
  • Always wear the right protective gear when you're doing an activity that carries any risk of dental or facial injury.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about sports and exercise safety.

SOURCE: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Association of Orthodontists, and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, news release, April 2004

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