Rabbitohs promoting better oral health

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Aboriginal-flagThe Souths Cares Oral Health road trip took a 3-day program of oral hygiene clinics promoting better eating and well-being among Aboriginal Year 3-6 school students on the NSW mid and north coasts last week. A joint initiative of the University of Sydney’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy, and Colgate, Souths Cares encourages young indigenous children to eat well, drink well, clean well, play well and stay well.

“We’re delighted to be teaming up again for the Souths Cares program to promote better oral health in Aboriginal communities,” said Kylie Gwynne, Director of the University of Sydney’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.

Rabbitohs player Nathan Merritt and Rhys Wesser, former State of Origin and Rabbitohs Fullback, who is now a Souths Cares Mentor, delivered Oral Health Care sessions and football clinics to 1,500 students from the communities of Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Macksville and Kempsey.

Indigenous and non-indigenous oral health students sponsored by The Poche Centre assisted clinical staff from the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and the Mid North Coast Local Health District with delivery of health promotion and oral assessment checks.

“This is our third collaboration and the program to help close the health gap in health differences between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians,” said Ms Gwynne.

Untreated dental decay rates are more than twice as high among Aboriginal Australians compared to non-Aboriginal Australians.

“Aboriginal children suffer preventable dental problems,” said Ms Gywnne. “The Souths Cares program is an important way to deliver education, and teeth and gum screening to encourage children to eat well, drink well, clean well, play well and stay well.”

The Poche Centre’s Centre for Oral Health Strategy is a NSW state wide oral health initiative promoting better access to oral health programs and evidence-based strategies to deliver oral health services.

Established by the University of Sydney in 2008 thanks to a generous donation by the philanthropist and Aboriginal health advocate, Greg Poche, The Poche Centre aims to help improve the health and life expectancy of Aboriginal people.

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