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Sat 12 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

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Dentist co-operation needed in osteo fight

Experts have called for closer ties between physicians and dentists in a bid to improve the successful detection and treatment of osteoporosis in patients.

Experts have called for closer ties between physicians and dentists in a bid to improve the successful detection and treatment of osteoporosis in patients.

In a paper that examined the impact of osteoporosis on public health, American researchers said improved collaboration between health providers is needed to minimise the impact of treatment on oral health.

Writing in the May edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association, the team said that osteoporosis and related fractures are more common than coronary disease, stroke and breast cancer. Mortality rates after hip or vertebral fractures are high, making the disease a leading public health problem.

Medical management of osteoporosis includes diet control, weight-bearing exercise, discontinuation of tobacco and alcohol intake, and use of medications; including selective oestrogen receptor modulators, calcitonin, anabolic agents and bisphosphonates, that have been associated with the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw.

The exact cause of osteonecrosis is unknown, but more than 93% of cases reported are in patients receiving intravenous high-dose bisphosphonates.

Invasive dental procedures are thought to be a predisposing factor for the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw. Periodontitis, poor dental hygiene and oral trauma are also linked to the condition. Consequently, it is critical that dentists are informed of patients receiving bisphosphonates therapy.

"Dentists need to understand osteoporosis, its treatments and its complications," the authors wrote. "Oral health maintenance is important in patients with osteoporosis."

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