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According to the CDC, approximately 500 million Americans visit the dentist each year. An estimated $102 billion was spent on dental services in 2008.

Yet, many children and adults needlessly suffer from oral diseases that could be prevented. According to the American Cancer Society, 35,720 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and pharyngeal cancers in 2009, resulting in an estimated 7,600 deaths -- many of which could have been prevented.

Picture of man during a routine teeth cleaning

In addition, the CDC estimates that about one-fourth of children ages 2 to 5 and one-half of adolescents ages 12 to 15 have tooth decay. In adults, an estimated 4 to 12 percent are affected by advanced gum disease.

Yet, with proper preventive care, such as regular checkups, brushing, flossing, fluoridation, and dental sealants, the risk of dental disease can greatly be reduced.

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