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Call for black men to take control of their dental health
Updated: 8/20/2008 12:00:55 PM

African-American men are being urged to take a more active role in their oral health by two Illinois dentists who share an office and a mission.

Dr Ozzie Smith III and Dr Patrick Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times that black males may be more hesitant to visit a dentist because of fear or the lack of an adequate dental plan.

The pair are attempting to reach more people by visiting community fairs and trying to dispel misassumptions about dental care.

They cite statistics from the American Dental Association, which indicate that black men have the highest rate of oral cancer and are also the most likely to die from the disease.

"Men don't go in for check-ups, even though oral cancer is more prevalent in the African-American community," Patrick Smith told the publication.

Other data from the ADA reveals that over half of men in this racial group have tooth decay that has not been treated.

There are more than 16 million black males living in the U.S., according to census data.
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