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RICHMOND, VA -- With diabetes and oral cancer on the rise nationwide and high blood pressure a continuing concern, the Virginia Dental Association (VDA) is commencing a major consumer education program on the value of screenings to detect these conditions.
The VDA is airing television ads (click here) and conducting a public information project statewide. The campaign will inform Virginians about the importance of good oral health and also the role that dentists can play in detecting early warning signs of a variety of health issues including diabetes, oral cancer and high blood pressure. The “Want a Healthy Body? Start With a Healthy Mouth” campaign encourages viewers to visit www.vadental.org to find a VDA dentist in their area. “Going to the dentist isn’t just about taking good care of your teeth,” states the ad, “it’s about taking good care of your health.”
As diagnosed cases of diabetes and oral cancer continue to climb and high blood pressure is a serious concern for millions of Americans, the more than 3,500 VDA-member dentists understand the importance of regular health screenings.
· 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
· 11.8% of all men aged 20 or older have diabetes; 10.8% of women over 20 also suffer from the disease.
· Each year, 42,000 people are diagnosed with and 8,000 die from oral cancer.
· One of four Americans has high blood pressure, putting them at higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
“On occasion, dentists find irregular medical conditions during screenings,” says Dr. Kirk Norbo, President of the VDA. “When they do, they recommend that the patient visit his or her physician for follow up care.”
The commercials are airing at different intervals in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond/Petersburg, Charlottesville, Roanoke, Harrisonburg and Tri-Cities. VDA member dentists are available to speak to reporters or appear on broadcast talk shows to discuss oral cancer, diabetes and other oral health care issues. “We all go to the dentist for cleanings and other tooth and gum related procedures,” says Michael Link, D.D.S., a Newport News dentist and chair of the VDA’s public information effort. “Our member dentists keep up with the latest technology and science to provide the most comprehensive oral exams possible.”