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N.C. Dental Society Urges North Carolinians to Not Forego Dental Care
Date:3/11/2009

CARY, N.C., , March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing dangers to overall health, the North Carolina Dental Society (NCDS) is urging North Carolina residents to not give up routine dental examinations and treatment during the current economic downturn.

"Routine dental examinations can preclude many serious problems later on," said Dr. Alec Parker, executive director of the NCDS.

According to data from a Gallup-Healthways poll, North Carolina ranks 34th in the country in terms of the number of individuals who have visited a dentist in the past 12 months. The national survey reported that 64% of North Carolinians have gone to the dentist in the past year.

"The fact that more than a third of those in our state aren't seeing a dentist regularly is an alarming statistic," Parker said. "Now that we know that oral infections can lead to devastating overall health problems, including life-threatening cardio-vascular disease, it becomes even more important to have routine oral examinations by a dentist."

Parker also pointed to the NCDS' dental outreach programs as a way of seeing many patients who otherwise could not afford dental care.

"Our North Carolina Missions of Mercy (NCMOM) program, which stages two-day free open-door adult clinics throughout the state, is a way of seeing hundreds of underserved patients. But, this is just a drop in the bucket, not a health care plan," Parker said.

Parker adds that the NCMOM program is growing in size and in severity of cases. "Not only are volunteer dentists treating more patients across the state, we are often seeing very advanced oral problems. It is not uncommon to have to due multiple extractions in some patients who have gone without care for too long."

The next NCMOM clinic, expected to treat more than 400 patients, will be held in Murphy, N.C. March 20-21.

FOR INFORMATION: Dr. Alec P
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SOURCE N.C. Dental Society
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