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Friday Dental Download: May 2, 2014

This week find out which states are leading the country in dental visits, see how a new app can detect oral cancer, and learn how dental offices can better accommodate pediatric patients with autism. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

A new Gallup Poll found that Connecticut residents were the most likely to say they visited a dentist in the last 12 months, with Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents following close behind. On the other end of the spectrum, only 53% of Mississippi residents reported having seen a dentist in the same period. On average, 64.7% of Americans in 2013 said they visited the dentist at least once in the past 12 months. Check your oral health IQ here.

The World Health Organization reports that “sharp increases in the incidence rates of oral/pharyngeal cancers have been reported for several countries and regions,” including the US. A new app, created by a team at Stanford University, allows health workers to take photos of a patient’s mouth and send them to an offsite expert for analysis. This app could prove to be helpful in extremely rural or underdeveloped regions where access to dentists is limited.

According to Sharon Cermak, professor in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, the loud noises, bright lights and strong scents of a dental office can cause fear in children with autism. Cermak published a study that identifies ways dentists can better accommodate patients with autism by soothing their senses with softer lighting and calming music. According to the article, preliminary findings show that autistic children were less anxious when these sensory adaptive techniques were implemented.

Researchers from Deakin University in Australia found a connection between poor dental health and depression, although they have yet to determine why there is such a link. The researchers believe this may lead to discovery of a correlation between oral and mental health.

Check out this photo of a hippopotamus in Guangzhou, China getting a dental checkup. Imagine having to keep those pearly whites clean?