More Virginians Realize Their Dentists Can be Lifesavers

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Contributed by Virginia Dental Association

Virginia Dental Association Continues Critical Public Awareness Campaign Across the Commonwealth

RICHMOND, VA  – Some 42,000 Americans will be told they have pharyngeal or oral cancer this year. Approximately 8,000 will die because the disease was caught too late.

To remind Virginians that early diagnosis is the key to saving lives, the Virginia Dental Association is expanding its new statewide public awareness campaign, “Want a Healthy Body? Start With a Healthy Mouth”, that features a TV commercial and website content. More than 13,000 people have visited since the campaign launched in the spring to look for a VDA dentist in their area. As a result, awareness of the value of oral screenings is up, and it’s not just signs of cancer that dentists are finding during patient visits. They are also seeing evidence of diabetes and high blood pressure. The data bears out the need for the effort:

· 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 in four Americans has high blood pressure, putting them at higher risk for heart disease and stroke.

“Patients are telling us they have seen our ads and news coverage and are more aware of why we are examining their mouths and necks, as well as their teeth and gums,” says Michael Link, D.D.S., a Newport News dentist and chair of the VDA’s public information effort. “Practically every dentist in Virginia will over time see something suspicious and refer the patient to his or her physician for further treatment. Because everyone should visit their dentist twice a year, we are often the first ones to spot lesions or other abnormalities.”

The commercials are airing in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond/Petersburg, Charlottesville, Roanoke, Harrisonburg and Tri-Cities and can be viewed online at

VDA member dentists are eager to speak to reporters or appear on broadcast talk shows to address oral health issues. Please contact Rachael Keshishian of Rubin Communications Group at or 757-456-5212 for assistance.



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