Players from the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have thrown their support behind Dental Health Week by issuing a rallying call for all rugby league players to ensure they have a correctly fitted mouthguard from an early age.

The week runs from 3-9 August and participants are spreading the oral health message, with a focus of this year’s campaign to raise awareness about the use of mouthguards.

Townsville dentist Dr Daryl Holmes – whose business 1300SMILES Ltd is a supplier of mouthguards to Cowboys players – said the message of Dental Health Week was simple but effective when it came to protecting your mouth and teeth on the playing field.

“Quite simply, when it comes to contact sport and the wearing of mouthguards, prevention is certainly better than the cure,” Holmes said.

“It’s really important that families understand the need for their children playing rugby league – or any contact sport – to wear mouthguards from an early age.”

Champion Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston said he has been wearing a mouthguard for footy since the age of six.”

“I used to have one of those moulded ones you heated in water and fitted around your mouth, but nowadays they’re much more professional with how they do it, and you get your mouthguard specially fitted,” Thurston said.

Team mate Michael Morgan said wearing a mouthguard while playing in the National Rugby League had saved him from more serious injury on more than one occasion.

It was a sentiment echoed by prop James Tamou, whose playing position dictates that he is involved in almost constant high-level physical contact for the time he is on the field.

“I’ve had many knocks around the head and mouth area and my mouthguard has saved me on numerous occasions,” Tamou said.

Tamou’s front row team mate Matt Scott said his mother influenced his wearing of a mouthguard from when he started playing rugby league.

Thurston and Dr Holmes recently caught up with students at Kirwan State School as part of the Cowboys’ Adopt-A-School program to spread the oral health message and promote Dental Health Week.

Dental Health Week runs until Sunday and participants are focusing on promoting the use of mouth guards and warnings about the consumption of sports drinks.

To get involved, go to www.dentalhealthweek.com.au/, and also visit www.1300smiles.com.au.