A healthy smile and fresh breath are essential ingredients for those hoping to make a perfect impression on 14 February. And with a smile being one of the first things you notice about a potential partner, it has never been more important.
The Department of Health has today announced a £30 million boost for NHS dentists. This will allow more patients to register with a dentist, get their oral health checked and bring their beaming smile – and confidence – back.
Lord Howe, health minister, said: 'Since May 2010 more than a million new patients are seeing an NHS dentist.
'We want to make sure that this progress continues and that dentists give the highest standards of care as well as treating more patients. That’s why we have invested this extra £30 million in funding.
'Better oral health is a key priority of the government and we recently extended the dental pilot programme which will see preventative care at the heart of dentistry going forward.'
Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, welcomed the cash injection.
Dr Carter said: 'In times of economic difficulty this investment is great news for the industry. There have been some vast improvements in oral health over the last 30 years, yet there is still more we can do.
'This money will offer the dental profession the opportunity to reach out to individuals and communities that may not prioritise their oral health. Oral health promotion teams have faced cutbacks in the last 12 months and this should enable more organisations to relax their budgets.'
Barry Cockcroft, chief dental officer for England, said: 'Having a healthy smile is so important and I hope this £30 million will see thousands of new patients pick up the phone and register with an NHS dentist.
'Having stained teeth, unhealthy gums and bad breath is not only bad for your health, it is so damaging for confidence, too. This Valentine’s Day, I really hope people will take the opportunity to do something about it.'
Dental surgeries have been applying to the local NHS to access the extra funds which will allow them to take on new patients and fund extra clinics.
This is the second year the government has made extra dental funding available. Dental practices can use the extra funds to either put on extra clinics, attract new patients or buy in new services such as orthodontics.