Two Rotorua schools won't have to worry about dental injuries after receiving donated mouthguards by Otago University's Faculty of Dentistry.
The faculty is celebrating the university's 150th anniversary by donating 150 custom-fitted mouthguards to schools and promoting the use of mouthguards among students when playing sport. Western Heights High School and John Paul College are two of the schools.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Divison of Health Sciences Professor Paul Brunton said the faculty considered the initiative was a practical way to drive home the message about the use of mouthguards.
"Up to 39 per cent of sports injuries are dental-related yet many of our young people continue not to wear a mouthguard when they play sport and practise," Professor Brunton said.
"We thought this was an ideal time to promote the use of mouthguards, while giving something back to communities as well."
The university sent out posters about mouthguard use to all secondary schools in the country and organised a video competition, encouraging students to make a short video advocating why mouthguards should be used. The winners receiving custom-fitted mouthguards for one of their school's sports teams.
The successful schools receiving the 150 custom-fitted, University of Otago branded mouthguards are: Western Heights High School and John Paul College, Wellington East Girls' College, Linwood College (Christchurch), Kaikorai Valley High School (Dunedin) and South Otago High School (Balclutha).
The video from Western Heights High School particularly struck a chord with university staff with student Leo Penn outlining his plight of a missing tooth after not wearing a mouthguard while playing rugby.
In the video Leo encourages his peers to wear a mouthguard when playing sport.
Professor Brunton said faculty staff had since been working with Leo and his family to help him receive the appropriate dental care he needed.
University staff are currently visiting schools and taking an impression of students' mouths for the mouthguards to be made. They are being modelled in the Faculty of Dentistry's production lab and will be delivered to schools later this month.
Key messages about mouthguard use in sport
• If you play any contact sport, you need a mouthguard
• Always wear a mouthguard when you play and practise sport
• Mouthguards protect the teeth and jaws
• Mouthguards also help to reduce the risk of concussion.