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Fearing the dentist could prevent the diagnosis of serious diseases
Updated: 2/15/2011 11:00:10 AM

Skipping dental appointments due to fear can be a health risk Maintaining dental health is important for a healthy smile, but those recommended two trips to the dentist per year could also be life-saving.

During routine visits, dentists are sometimes able to observe abnormalities, which may be signs of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and oral cancer.

While some people may not visit the dentist because they don’t have access to dental insurance, some have a fear that prevents them from making regular appointments.

There are many ways to lessen dental anxiety, such as listening to music instead of the dentist’s drill and new technologies that desensitize gums and reduce pain.

Studies have shown that as people grow older, they visit the dentist less frequently. This could have a negative effect by preventing dentists from catching the early signs of more serious health conditions and referring patients to a physician.

A 2005 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 76 percent of children ages 2 to 17 had visited the dentist within the past year, while only 63 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 had done the same.

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