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Dental care polishes much more than teeth

from The Cincinnati Enquirer

Dental visits can detect more than cavities. Dentists check for a host of health conditions when patients come in for regular visits, which is why skipping or nixing visits can be disastrous. "Your mouth is an indicator of general health," said Dr. Alex Abernathy of Lakeland Dental Care in Jackson, Miss., who has practiced dentistry for 33 years. "I've probably saved two peoples' lives." 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. "Untreated, it would have metastasized," he said. About 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. more

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