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New tests at dentist office screen for gum disease, oral cancer

from Gannett via The Shreveport Times

Future dental visits may involve more than a simple cleaning. Oral DNA testing also may help screen patients for gum disease or oral cancer. Dr. Jessica Lawson of Urbandale Family Dentistry in Iowa began offering the tests last spring. Two tests involve gum disease and a third for oral human papillomavirus, or HPV, assesses risks for oral cancer. Researchers anticipate salivary testing may become the diagnostic tool of the future, in some instances even replacing blood work, said Lawson, one of the few dentists in the metro area offering the tests. "It really supports what we're doing with our patients," she said. "They know we have their best interest at heart. We're looking to prevent, rather than treat and fix." more

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