As we age, our bones begin to lose density and strength, especially after age fifty. Many factors affect bone density, from diet to medications. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and makes them more apt to break. The disease affects about ten million Americans and causes more than two million fractures each year. Another thirty-four million Americans have low bone density and are at risk of developing osteoporosis. Many people with low bone density or osteoporosis take a medication from a group of drugs called bisphosphonates. These medications greatly help, but in recent years dentists have reported a condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw in patients taking the medication. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a rare but serious condition that can cause severe damage to the jaw bone. Tell your dentist if you are taking a bisphosphonate medication so they can best monitor you for any symptoms.

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