POMPEY’S youth players experienced a different type of treatment table as they went to get their pre-season check-up with students at the university’s dental academy.
The two academies came together as part of the collaborative partnership between the university and football club.
Academy centre half, Ethan Robb, 17, said: ‘I think this is a really good initiative. The dentist gave us some good advice to ensure a healthy mouth and teeth. It’s important as any kind of infection can reduce physical performance and toothache can cause pain which could make it difficult to concentrate during a match.’
Team mate, Harrison Brook, 16, added: ‘Keeping your mouth healthy is just as important as any other part of your body.’
A key feature of the dental academy is its role as a practising surgery for the local community.
One of the students carrying out the treatment was trainee dentist, Anika Parmar.
Anika, 27, said: ‘I think the initiative with the football club is brilliant. Contact sports can lead to trauma which can affect teeth and gums and so it’s important for young players to have these checks before the season starts. Being able to work with real patients is fantastic as you get to see such a variety of conditions.’
Head of academy sports science at Pompey, Ben Spong, hopes the visit can help raise the profile of dental care.
Ben said: ‘The football club is a great vehicle in driving forward projects in the community and hopefully this will encourage families and young people to get regular check-ups.’
It is a sentiment echoed by professor Chris Louca, a practising dentist and head of the Dental Academy.
‘Whilst today has been all about providing a full oral screening for the Pompey Academy players, hopefully it will encourage parents to ensure their children go for regular check-ups,’ he said.
As reported in The News, this is becoming more difficult due to the recent closure of three local dental practices. Whilst Professor Louca said he could not comment on the closures he said that Portsmouth’s university had a role in educating the next generation of dentists for Portsmouth and other areas of the country.