AGD's Dental Awareness Day Hotline A Hit

Aug. 6, 2002
More than 1, 000 consumers dialed to save their smiles.

Results from the Academy of General Dentistry's national SmileLine, held Friday, July 5, revealed consumers want to learn more about how their oral health is directly linked to their overall health. This connection means consumers are placing a higher priority on oral health care advice, proper oral hygiene tips and dental referrals than ever before.

During the SmileLine, more than 1,000 consumers across the nation and Canada called 1-800-SMILE-33 (1-800-764-5333) to take advantage of talking one-on-one for free with dental experts attending the Academy of General Dentistry's 50th annual meeting in Honolulu.
Results reveal:

* Middle-aged adults, from 35-54, topped the list of callers.
* Cosmetic dental questions including bleaching and veneers as well as periodontal questions about gingivitis, gum disease and tooth loss rang in as the top dental concerns.
* Many adults had questions about their child's oral health including:
* when a child should make their first trip to the dentist
* how to prevent early childhood tooth decay
* how to prevent and treat children's dental emergencies
* Other top dental concerns included crowns, implants and dry mouth syndrome.

"Most people know neglecting their oral health means risking cavities and gum disease," says Roy F. Lehrman, DDS, MAGD, 2002 SmileLine Coordinator. "But more people have learned how the health of their mouth is the window to health of the rest of their body. We hope our responses to consumers' questions will help enable people to take a more preventive and proactive approach to their oral health."

Recently, researchers have linked bad breath and bleeding gums as indicators of diabetes. In individuals with diabetes, gum disease is associated with poor insulin levels. In addition, a sore or painful jaw may indicate an impeding heart attack and gum disease may exacerbate a pre-existing heart condition. For women, receding gums and bone loss around teeth are linked to early warning signs for osteoporosis. Pregnant women also need to be careful; gum disease can place pregnant women at risk for having low-birthweight babies.

After calling the SmileLine, more than 110 consumers in search of a highly qualified dentist called the Academy's 1-877-2X-A-YEAR (1-877-292-9327) referral service. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this free service connects consumers with up to three general dentists in their area. The service also provides more information on the Academy of General Dentistry and callers can request a free dental health brochure that highlights the links between oral and overall health.

Consumers who missed the national SmileLine are encouraged to visit the Academy's SmileLine Online section at for a listing of upcoming local SmileLines or post a dental question online. All questions are answered by an Academy member dentist.

The Academy of General Dentistry is a non-profit organization of more than 37,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patient's oral health needs.