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Dental and Medical Communities Piloting Partnership in Mid-Michigan To Detect and Defeat Disease
Date:12/1/2008

LANSING, Mich., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The next time you visit a dentist in the mid-Michigan area, don't be surprised if they check your blood pressure in addition to your brushing habits.

Delta Dental of Michigan, Ingham Regional Medical Center/McLaren Health Care and the Michigan Primary Care Association are spearheading a pilot project designed to have dentists and physicians work together more closely on detecting high blood pressure in patients.

"Dentists are the champions of prevention and should be considered a key member of your personal health team to help maintain a healthy mouth and body," said Dr. Thomas J. Fleszar, D.D.S., M.S., president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental of Michigan. "Many people see their dentist more often than a primary care physician so this chair-side health team concept presents a tremendous opportunity for positive change."

At least one-third of Americans age 50 or older who have hypertension (high blood pressure) and see a dentist at least annually don't know they have the disease, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early research indicates that gum disease and heart disease may be connected and scientists are further examining the link between oral health and its impact on cardiovascular health.

Under the pilot partnership kicking off in January 2009, dental offices in mid-Michigan will screen patients for high blood pressure. If they detect a problem, the dentist will recommend they see their primary care physician or offer a referral through Ingham Regional Medical Center/McLaren Health Care and the Michigan Primary Care Association. IRMC will then conduct follow-up calls to the patients offering further health education and referral assistance.

"Imagine the opportunities for catching hypertension that we could be t
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SOURCE Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana
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