Protecting your face and mouth: it could be just a click away
RALEIGH, N.C., (April 4, 2012) — A study from the University of Alabama shows that car accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries to the face and mouth, with it being the primary cause in children over the age of 5. Delta Dental of North Carolina reminds everyone that April is National Facial Protection Month and is asking individuals to think of a seat belt as another way to protect their face and mouth.
According to the study, “occupants restrained with a seat belt only or a seat belt and an air bag, had a significantly reduced risk of any facial injury compared with completely unrestrained occupants.”
“Wearing a seat belt puts one more protective measure between a driver and the steering wheel or a passenger and other hard surfaces in the event of an accident,” says Dr. Jed Jacobson, chief science officer at Delta Dental. “When we think about facial protection, we think about wearing mouth guards during sports, but it shouldn’t be limited to that. It should also include wearing seat belts in automobiles.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. The most common injuries are fractured facial bones and teeth.
“Such dental injuries tend to be very costly and may involve long-term corrective procedures,” says Dr. Jacobson. “The importance of seat belts when it comes to protecting the mouth may typically go unnoticed by many, but it’s a highly effective way to avoid severe injury.”
All passengers in the car should buckle up before the vehicle starts up. North Carolina law states that children under the age of five or weighing less than 40 pounds must be properly secured in an approved child passenger restraint device that is appropriate for their height and weight. In addition, both the driver and front seat passengers are required by law to be buckled.
Dr. Jacobson reminds adults that children will mirror what they see. “It’s important to instill good habits in our children. Whether it’s brushing their teeth or fastening their seat belt.”
About Delta Dental of North Carolina
Delta Dental of North Carolina, with its affiliates in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Tennessee collectively are among the largest dental plan administrators in the nation. In 2011, the enterprise paid out $2.2 billion for dental treatment for 8.6 million enrollees. Offices are located in Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; Indianapolis and Greenwood, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; Okemos and Farmington Hills, Mich.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; and Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.