Recession hits oral health funding

Oral health promotion is coming under pressure from cutbacks in public spending.

Although the British Dental Health Foundation has recorded one of its strongest performances in its 40-year history, the charity is seeking greater support from dental professionals.

In its latest annual report for the 12 months ending 31 July 2010, the Foundation invested £998,464 directly on promoting good oral health – the second highest on record.

The Foundation achieved good performances for its product accreditation work, and income from sponsorship and charitable donations.

The Foundation’s strong performance meant it could continue to invest in both of its major annual campaigns, National Smile Month and Mouth Cancer Action Month.

However, the impact of the recession has resulted in generally lower levels of promotion and educational activity by dental practices and health services.

The Foundation fears this decline will continue and is urging dental professionals to increase their support, especially financially, to ensure oral health promotion maintains a high profile in communities.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, says: ‘We were really pleased with our performance last year, especially in the aftermath of the credit crunch and its impact on the charitable sector.

‘Our product accreditation work was especially strong over the 12 months. We’ve now accredited over 500 products since the service began and it continues to be valued by manufacturers and retailers.

‘More importantly, it offers the public consistent, clear and independent advice to make an informed choice about which dental products to buy.’

He adds: ‘We are continuing to invest our charitable income wisely, including our latest innovative project to support oral health education in communities in association with the Wrigley Tooth Fairy Fund. However, there is growing concern that the economic slow-down is affecting oral health promotion and putting hard won improvements over recent years at risk.

‘We believe the Foundation’s role will become even more important over the next few years and we are calling on greater support from dental professionals and our partners to help us continue our unique and important work.’

Daniel Davis, president of the British Dental Health Foundation adds: ‘It is really pleasing that the sector has continued to support the Foundation and its aim to improve oral health, especially during the economic downturn. I would like to thank all our members, customers, corporate sponsors, partners, trustees and staff for their support and contribution over the past twelve months – and your continued support in the future as we approach our 40th anniversary.’

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