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Facial Protection Month is dedicated to encouraging athletes, students, adults and children alike to protect their face, head, and teeth during activities.

Do you remember to wear a helmet when rollerblading or eye protection when you were mowing the lawn? Do you insist your child wears a mouth guard when playing contact sports? April is a good time to remind those at home and at work to always use facial protection. Facial injuries can target anyone from construction workers to families to professional athletes.

Whether you are a parent, coach or dentist, these five tips from the top dental associations help remind everyone to play it safe during recreational and organized sports. They can help prevent serious, painful facial injuries that can take the fun out of the game.

  • 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 that hold teeth in place and allow for normal speech and breathing.

  • 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.

  • Cheer and Shout Out Your Support for Mandatory Protective Gear. Athletes who participate in football, hockey and boxing are required to wear mouth guards. If mouth guards have been proven to significantly decrease the risk of oral injuries, why is it not mandatory in every sport for kids to wear them?

Whether your child is playing a contact sport or just monkeying around on the monkey bars, accidents happen. A recently published study for the period 2001-2008 found the five most common causes of childhood injuries were, in order of frequency, basketball, football, bicycling, playgrounds and soccer.

If you or your child suffer a facial injury while playing sports, contact your local physician or call Sabetha Family Practice at (785) 284-2141 to make an appointment.