Baseball legend Alex Rodriguez has been diagnosed with early-stage gum disease, and is now taking the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue.

‘Looks can be deceiving,’ Rodriguez said in an interview with ‘CBS Mornings. ‘I just recently went to see my dentist and not thinking anything about any gum disease. And the dentist tells me the news, and then I come to find out over 65 million Americans have this gum disease.’

Rodriguez said Wednesday that he and Bausch Health Companies Inc. are launching an awareness campaign to encourage people to undergo regular dental and oral health checks to prevent Gingivitis forms of early-stage gum cancer.

Unlike other ballplayers, Rodriguez was never known to use smokeless tobacco while playing the game. 

Dipping – usually involving placing small amounts of Skoal or Copenhagen inside one’s lower lip, was very popular among players, including San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn, who died as a result of complications from cancer treatment in 2014. 

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