DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend "Lauren" is very outgoing and kind. I have noticed her teeth becoming more damaged and yellowed in the past few months. We regularly speak about our various health ailments, and she has not mentioned her teeth. I don’t care about the cosmetic appearance of her teeth; it's just that I would feel incredibly guilty if there was an infection of some sort lurking there. Growing up, I was always told to never comment on weight or teeth, but is this an exception? I want to make sure Lauren is healthy. -- Pearly Whites, Cincinnati
DEAR PEARLY WHITES: You may be able to begin the conversation by talking about your own teeth. Tell her that you plan on going to the dentist soon. Ask her who her dentist is. Continue by asking her if she has been to see her dentist recently. Then, go for it carefully. Tell her that you have noticed that her teeth seem to be changing, and you are concerned about her. You can tell her that you have learned that the health of your teeth is often directly connected to the health of your body, which is why you are going to get a checkup -- and why she should do the same. If she does not have dental insurance, suggest that she check with the local dental school. Often, schools offer free or low-cost dental care provided by students.