A LEADING councillor will look into making dental care a higher health priority across Cumbria as part of new council commissioning powers.

Cumbria County Council is now working more closely with the NHS, a move which would involve the top tier authority acting as the lead-commissioner on behalf of both organisations for some services.

Speaking at a meeting of the full council, Cllr Patricia Bell, who holds the  Health and Care Services portfolio, described the issue as a “really important area.” She added: “As we move forward to develop independent care communities, it feels that there are two big areas that are left out: one is dentistry; and the other is the matter of sight – and probably there are others too.”

Cllr Stan Collins had urged the council to focus more on tackling the problem. He said: “There is increasing evidence that poor dental health is related to and may even be the cause of a number of diseases including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, stroke and Parkinson’s.”