According to an article published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, physicians and dentists should collaborate to improve early detection and treatment of patients who have or may develop osteoporosis.

The researchers 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 patients 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 and result in functional impairment as well as increased health care cost and mortality.

The research also revealed that medical management of osteoporosis includes diet, 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 concluded 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.