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Survey: 27% of Americans to spend less during 2011 holiday season

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — More than a quarter of Americans expect to spend less during the holidays this year, according to a survey by American’s Research Group, Reuters reported.

About 27% of people surveyed said they planned to spend less this year, while about 55% expect to spend only as much as last year. The question was one of several exclusively asked for Reuters as part of a larger America’s Research Group survey.

More than half of those surveyed said they expected the economy to slow further before it recovers. Only about 18% of Americans plan to spend more this holiday season, down from 23% last year.

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Crest, actress Marilu Henner partner to educate consumers about gum health

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s Crest Pro-Health brand is looking to educate older adults about the importance of gum health during the second annual National Gingivitis Awareness Month this September by partnering with actress, author and health advocate Marilu Henner.

To help bring attention to gingivitis, a common, early form of gum disease that affects more than 1-out-of-2 U.S. adults, Crest will engage in a host of activities to support National Gingivitis Awareness Month. These include the partnership with Henner and sponsorship of the Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Invigorating Clean booth at Life@50+, AARP’s National Event and Expo, which will be held from Sept. 22 to 24 in Los Angeles. Consumers who visit the booth can consult a dental hygienist about oral health questions and concerns and learn more about gingivitis. The booth also will feature a “pledge wall,” where visitors can pledge to better oral health, and receive free samples.

Many adults believe they already are doing everything they can to protect their mouth and do not realize that red gums or minor bleeding during brushing or flossing can be a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by plaque bacteria at the gum line that can cause gums to swell. If left untreated, it can progress to a more serious form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, an infection that can be a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Some research suggests there may be a link between periodontitis and other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“As adults age it is critical that they continue to maintain a rigorous oral hygiene regimen, which includes removing plaque from teeth and gums every day with proper brushing and flossing and getting regular cleanings by a dental professional,” said Anne Benson, RDH, Mobile Dentistry of Arizona. “For some patients, we also recommend a clinical care regimen, such as Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection, that provides advanced protection against the bacteria that can cause gingivitis.”

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CVS Caremark donating $6M in free flu shots to Direct Relief USA for uninsured patients

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has partnered with Direct Relief USA to offer up to $6 million in free flu shots to community clinic and health center patients who are uninsured, the company announced on Tuesday.

More than 400 participating clinics and health centers across the country will identify uninsured individuals from their existing patient populations and provide them with a free flu shot voucher, which is redeemable at more than 7,200 CVS/pharmacy locations and the nearly 600 MinuteClinics inside select CVS/pharmacy stores.

Flu shots are being provided by CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants every day, including evenings and weekends, with no appointment necessary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu shot, including those who were vaccinated last season.

Over the past three years, CVS Caremark has committed to providing up to $14 million in free flu shots to patients in need.

"Our goal this flu season is to make CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic the most convenient place to get a flu shot, which includes making sure that cost is not a barrier to this important preventive healthcare service," CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo said. "That is why we are working with Direct Relief USA, a dedicated healthcare organization whose extensive network of clinics and health centers will help us provide free flu shots to those who lack health insurance."

Direct Relief USA is a nonprofit organization that works with 1,100 clinics and health centers in all 50 states, providing them with free medications and supplies for their low-income and uninsured patients.

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