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Researchers at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry say they have found a link between the drugs used to treat osteoporosis and 'bone death' (osteonecrosis) in the jaw.
Lead researcher Parish Sedghizadeh stated that microbial biofilms are causing jaw tissue infections in patients taking bisphosphonate drugs, which are used to treat the bone-wasting disease.
The team decided to investigate the link between the two after increasing reports of bone death of the jaw in patients who have been taking bisphosphonate drugs.
Using powerful scanning electron microscopes to study patients' jawbone samples, they revealed biofilm bacteria on pitted tissue
The researchers concluded that jaw osteonecrosis usually occurs after a tooth extraction or injury when the bone is exposed, allowing bacteria-laden biofilms to infect it, but it is not yet known why bisphosphonate drugs encourage this process.
"Now that we've know biofilms are behind the infection of the jaw, we are studying ways to effectively treat or prevent the osteonecrosis," Sedghizadeh said.
Recently dentist Dr Daniel Noor told Dental Economics that if a person's teeth move or shift later in life it could be a sign of osteoporosis.
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