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Issue:- 14 June  2012

A growing number of people are cutting back on their oral healthcare

THE UK's current economic problems are proving bad news for the nation's teeth as many people are looking for ways to save money. The British Dental Health Foundation is warning that any cut-backs to spending on oral health is a false economy and will cost more in the long run; physically and financially.

The warnings have been prompted by a new survey commissioned by the Foundation which suggests that 36% of adults are more likely to delay any dental treatment needed due to cost and over a quarter say they are visiting their dentist less often as a result of the current economic problems. 17% of people say they are spending less on their oral care and 27% are buying cheaper oral care products including toothpaste, mouthwash and toothbrushes.

The Foundation is particularly concerned that 25% of people believe visiting the dentist is becoming less of a priority. Government data shows that the number of people with tooth decay is over 40% lower amongst people who visit their dentist at least once a year. Regular visits can also help the crucial early diagnosis of life threatening diseases such as mouth cancer.

Not surprisingly, people on lower incomes are most at risk of deteriorating oral health in the current economic climate. 24% of people on lower incomes are likely to refuse dental treatment and 40% of people are more likely to delay treatment.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, is hoping to remind anyone thinking of over-looking their oral health, to think again.  He said:- "Our findings show that oral health is not recession-proof and that too many people are willing to gamble with their oral health. Unfortunately, they are running the risk of storing up a wide range of health problems and even bigger costs in the future. Many people are entitled to free dental treatment on the NHS and it's always worth checking, especially if your circumstances change.  A regular oral health routine is the only way to avoid problems with teeth and gums. This includes maintaining regular visits to the dentist. Oral health can quickly deteriorate and regular check-ups with a dentist are essential.  The cost of poor oral health is not just cosmetic. Fillings, having teeth removed and other repair work are all considerably more expensive than the price of a check-up. The pain of toothache can be excruciating and is something to be avoided at any cost.  Continuing to use good quality oral health products is also really important. We advise anyone thinking of choosing different products to look out for the British Dental Health Foundation's ‘approved' symbol, which shows the product has been independently checked by an expert panel, and the marketing claims being made for the product have been independently verified by our panel of academic experts."

The findings have been published as part of National Smile Month, which runs from 20 May to 20 June 2012 and is the UK's biggest annual reminder to look after their oral health. The campaign encourages everyone to brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cut down on how often they have sugary foods and drinks and to visit their dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Boost for city's cultural organisations

NEARLY 50 arts organisations in Liverpool will receive vital funding from the city council's cultural budget.  This year (2012-2013) a total of £3,670,015 is available through the Arts and Cultural Investment Programme (ACIP) which gives funding exclusively to organisations which have culture at the heart of its business; whether it's theatre, dance, visual, digital or performing arts.  Liverpool City Council's Cabinet approved the funding at a meeting on the 8 June and now 47 organisations from across the city will benefit after successfully applying through the bidding process.

The city's major cultural organisations such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, TATE Liverpool, FACT, Biennial, The Bluecoat, DADA and the Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust (the Playhouse and Everyman) have benefited from the funding, as well as small to medium organisations and festivals including Hope Street Limited, Positive Impact, Africa Oye, Brouhaha and The Picket.

It is anticipated that they will bring in a further £30m funding which will be raised from other external sources, such as Arts Council England grants, trusts and foundations. It is expected the cultural sector will continue to attract huge numbers of visitors and tourists to the city, which will in-turn impact positively upon the city's economy and profile.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:- "These organisations are the cultural lifeblood of the city, and provide Liverpool with an exciting programme of activities throughout the year. This investment contributes enormously to our continuing growth and establishing this city as one of the country's foremost cultural destinations.  At a time of recession and cuts in public finances, we feel Liverpool's cultural offer outweighs our investment, and ensures that as always, we are staying ahead of the competition."

Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "We are delighted to be able to offer this investment once again, though this has been a particularly difficult process due to the demand, and strain on council budgets.  We feel that the organisations chosen are in the best position to offer economic and social benefits for the city. Organisations such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the theatres have been working in partnership with the city council to realise our ambitions for the regeneration of areas such as North Liverpool.  And there are many other wonderful organisations such as Collective Encounters, Urban Strawberry Lunch, Arts in Regeneration which are already working on the ground with communities, providing opportunities for learning and engagement."

The grant was announced in January 2012, following which 94 applications were received. The 47 organisations which are recommended for funding have been selected based on various criteria such as:-

They provide a positive profile for the city.

They employ local people and engage communities in local activities.

Their plans support a year round events programme with the aim of attracting tourists, visitors and the local community.

They inspire local communities to get involved and engage with culture.

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