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Treating osteoporosis calls for physician, dentist collaboration: ADA Journal

Oral health maintenance important for patients with osteoporosis

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CHICAGO, May 15, 2008—Physicians and dentists should collaborate to improve early detection and treatment of patients who have or may develop osteoporosis, say researchers in the cover story of the May issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The authors of the article, “Osteoporosis and Its Implications for Dental Patients,” reviewed the medical and dental literature to examine osteoporosis’ effect on public health in the United States. They also assessed the implications of providing dental care to people who have or are at risk of developing osteoporosis.

According to the authors, the literature indicated that osteoporosis and related fractures are more common than coronary disease, stroke and breast cancer. Fractures resulting from osteoporosis can affect a patient’s quality of life, as well as result in functional impairment and increased health care cost and mortality.

Their literature search also revealed that medical management of osteoporosis includes diet control, weight-bearing exercise, discontinuation of tobacco and alcohol intake, and use of medications—including selective estrogen receptor modulators, calcitonin, anabolic agents and bisphosphonates—that have been associated with the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw.

The authors determined that oral health maintenance is important in patients with osteoporosis, and that changes to bisphosphonate therapy or other medical treatment should be made only after consultation with the patient’s physician. “Dentists need to understand osteoporosis, its treatments and its complications to provide adequate care,” write the authors.

All health care professionals involved in the care of all dental patients, particularly patients who are taking oral bisphosphonates, should discuss patient care decisions with the patient’s physician, conclude the authors.

The authors were Beatrice J. Edwards, MD, associate professor of medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, and co-author Dr. Cesar A. Migliorati, professor, Oral Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

About the American Dental Association

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.