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In an editorial in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician's Assistants, the editor-in-chief, Sarah Zarbock, entreats her readers to actively check on patients' dental health and to encourage them to get regular dental checkups.
"If the eyes are the windows of the soul, then the mouth is certainly a place where important discoveries can be mad," Zarbock writes.
Noting the increasing links between poor dental health, especially gum disease, and poor health outcomes in other areas, Zarbock says it is part of the responsibilities of a physician's assistant to be an advocate in this area.
"Be a voice for the importance of dental insurance coverage, especially for children," she writes.
With a shaky economic climate, fewer can afford dental insurance and too many are putting off dental care.
A poll by Gallup-Healthways released in March 34 percent of Americans did not visit a dentist in 2008, and that number increases to almost 50 percent in nine states. The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's health found that lack of dental insurance was one of the largest factors in children not getting proper dental care.
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