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Issue Date:- 26 May 2008


FLOSSING while driving, opening bottles with the teeth, ignoring bleeding gums and using earrings, needles and pencils to pick the teeth are just some of the bad habits revealed among people in Liverpool by this year's National Dental Survey.

The survey was conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation and Oral B to mark the beginning of National Smile Month (18 May 2008 to 17 June 2008).  The global campaign is running simultaneously in the UK and USA this year with the 'Brush for Health' theme being used to raise awareness of the link between oral health and serious general conditions such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease and low birth weight babies.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented:- "It is National Smile Month but these results do not give people in Liverpool a great deal to smile about.  People are putting themselves at risk with these shocking habits - yet around 85% of people are completely unaware of the link between the health of the mouth and the health of the body

Gum health, in particular, is very important and has been linked to a range of conditions. However, people are risking their gum health by picking and flossing without paying the necessary care and attention. 

A worrying 8% of people in Liverpool admit they have flossed while driving, 8% while on a date and a significant number of people have used every day items such as earrings, needles and pencils to pick food from between their teeth, risking cuts and infection.

Couple that with the fact that 25% of people have opened a bottle with their teeth and you can see that people really are risking their oral health with bad dental habits."

The survey also found that 25% of people in Liverpool suffer with bleeding gums and more than a 3rd of those simply ignore it or brush their teeth more softly to avoid aggravating it.

Dr Carter continued:- "Bleeding gums are a sign of a poor oral healthcare routine.  People need to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, cut down how often they have sugary foods and drinks and visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend if they want to keep their gums and body healthy.

If a person is suffering with bleeding gums they should not brush more softly.  They simply need to make sure they are brushing well - for 2 minutes at a time and covering all the surfaces of the teeth. Cleaning between the teeth can also help using floss or interdental brushes.   The message of the campaign is Brush for Health and people need to take that literally if they are to stay healthy. Remember, your mouth and your body talk; so look after them both!"

The Foundation is working alongside Oral Health America to launch National Smile Month in the USA for the first time this year.   For more information on National Smile Month visit their website.

FMB launches hunt for the North West’s top apprentices

THE majority of parents (78%) in the North West, but the lowest figure in the country; believe job-related training is a more attractive option for school leavers than academic study, according to research released as the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) launches its hunt for Britain’s top apprentices.

The FMB is inviting entries for The Apprentice of the Year Awards 2008, a nationwide search for the cream of the construction industry’s talent, with a £1,000 top prize. The competition is run in conjunction with the FMB’s Master Builder of the Year Awards. It is open to any UK apprentice in the construction industry, not just those who are working for FMB member firms.  The FMB is seeking nominations from the North West’s employers, customers, tutors or members of the ConstructionSkills regional teams for apprentices in any building trade. Those entered could win the title Apprentice of the Year 2008, a £1,000 cash prize, and luxury weekend breaks for themselves and the person nominating them.

Last year’s winner, Mark Lynch, an apprentice carpenter, fought off competition from hundreds of apprentices around the UK, winning the title for his high standard of workmanship, commitment and fantastic attitude.

“It is clear that the majority of parents believe that an apprenticeship offers young people a better route to employment and more employer-friendly business skills.

Talented and committed apprentices are vital to the future of the industry and should be given the recognition they so rightly deserve.  In the building industry, we face a shortage of skilled tradespeople . Apprenticeships offered by quality building firms ensure that Britain establishes high standards amongst craftsmen and women for the future. The FMB is determined to reward these, often overlooked, talented young people, whose hard work, outstanding ability and ‘can do’ attitude provides a valuable contribution to the businesses they work for.” says Frances Shaw, North West director for the FMB, the UK’s largest building trade association.

You will find more details and an entry form at or by calling 0870 162 0942. The closing date for entries is 31 July 2008 and Naomi Cleaver will present the winners with their awards at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, on Thursday 13 November 2008.

The research found that given the high costs associated with going to university or into higher education:-

· 91% of homeowners in the North West would be happy for their children to do job-related training

· 78% of homeowners in the North West think vocational courses give school leavers far more employer-friendly skills than university or higher education

· 94% of homeowners in the North West think vocational studies are a good way of tackling the UK skills shortage in many trades.

The FMB works with the construction industry’s training organisation, ConstructionSkills, to encourage a high calibre of school leavers into the building profession.  The Apprentice of the Year is sponsored by ConstructionSkills, Screwfix and the Cross Industry Construction Apprenticeships Task Force.

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