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Oral health an indicator of overall well-being

from The Columbus Dispatch

When you head to the dentist, there's far more at stake than a picture-ready smile. A thorough exam could detect bigger problems than a cavity or gingivitis. Dentists and hygienists routinely notice potentially cancerous spots in the mouth or even on the face, said Dr. Deborah Mendel, an associate clinical professor in the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. And a dentist who asks about dietary patterns — such as too much sugar — might advise a patient to talk to his or her family doctor about other concerns, including diabetes, she said. "We talk to them about what is contributing to their cavity rate, but then we try to talk about how it's better for their health to have less processed food, more fiber and to drink water," Mendel said. more

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