More than 20 young footballers were the first group of players from the La Perouse Panthers Junior Rugby League Club to be fitted out with individually moulded mouthguards last week, in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of good oral care.
Souths Cares Indigenous Program Manager, Leellen Lewis, said the initiative, thanks to the support of Centre for Oral Health Strategy, Colgate and the University of Sydney’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, will see approximately 90 La Perouse Panthers fitted with the mouthguards.
“This partnership makes up what is a formidable team that will help better educate kids about the issue, as well as providing local Rugby League players with a good quality mouthguard to protect their young teeth,” said Ms Lewis.
Leellen said that moulded mouthguards can help prevent permanent damage to your mouth for example cracked enamel, nerve pain, soft tissue damage, tooth replacement and jaw damage.
“Mouthguards are an important part of playing contact sport, so it’s great that Souths Cares can coordinate our partners in coming together to provide the mouthguards free to our local kids,” said Leellen.
“The oral care message is an important one to get across in Rugby League and the indigenous and wider communities.
“This is a great opportunity to get the oral care message across to kids by using Rugby League as the vehicle.”
Leellen also emphasised the important role the Poche Centre played in organising the initiative, with the group’s advocacy for the improvement of Indigenous health across the board.
“It’s such an important role they play and this partnership we have is just one of the ways they make a difference,” Leellen said.
Poche Centre for Indigenous Health Director, Kylie Gwynne said the Centre was delighted to support the initiative.
“Competitive sport brings with it several risks and we are glad to support this worthwhile initiative which will improve the safety of young players in the Redfern All Blacks,” she said.
Leellen said that dental injuries can result in time off school and the field, can be painful and may even result in complex dental treatment
“With another 70 impressions to be taken of young mouths, Souths Cares will continue to roll-out the program to ensure that young teeth are cushioned against contact when playing sport.”