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Time to see dentist? Visits can detect potentially life-threatening conditions

from The Clarion-Ledger

There's really no such thing as getting a simple cleaning from a dentist. Dentists check for a host of health conditions when patients come in for regular visits, which is why skipping visits or not going at all can be disastrous to a person's overall health. Dr. Alex Abernathy of Lakeland Dental Care in Jackson, Miss., has practiced dentistry for 33 years. "I've probably saved two peoples' lives," Abernathy said. Once, a patient's bone had a certain pattern indicating a problem. He referred her to an oral surgeon who removed part of her cancerous jaw. On another occasion, a hygienist in Abernathy's clinic detected a "fruity odor" or ketone breath from a young male patient's mouth. That patient was referred to an endocrinologist. He was diagnosed with diabetes that requires him to take insulin. more

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