Visit the Dentist: Avoid Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer!

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

Dentists Really Are the Health Care Gatekeepers of the Future

Why do so many people seem to forget that dentists are doctors too? Most patients consider their physicians the guardians of their good health. More and more, however, dentists are filling a valuable role in monitoring a patient’s total health. In fact, there are some diseases that a dentist may diagnose more easily than a general physician.

It turns out that having pockets of bacteria in your mouth isn’t particularly good for your overall health! It’s hardly news to dental professionals that
gum disease is linked to a host of other health problems, including (but hardly limited to) diabetes and heart disease.

Blood tests are a simple way to test for over 20 conditions, from diabetes to colon cancer. (Unfortunately, the cost of complete testing runs over $100 a patient and isn’t covered by most dental insurance plans.) Light-emitting devices can also be used to screen for oral cancer at a cost of about $30 per patient.

Personally, I couldn’t be more pleased by these developments. Dentists are now able to test for a variety of different forms of cancer; they will soon be able to monitor osteoporosis and immune system problems. These days, dentists are even helping patients quit smoking.

I talked about dentists as healthcare gatekeepers in an editorial a few months ago, but you can also check out what other people are saying on the subject.

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