The interface between oral and systemic health: the need for more collaboration


  • Conflict of interest statement: C. A. Migliorati has acted as a paid consultant for Colgate-Palmolive. C. Madrid received an indemnity as a member of the Novartis Expert Board on bisphosphonates osteonecrosis.

Corresponding author and reprint requests: C. A. Migliorati, NSU College of Dental Medicine, 3200 S. University Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328, USA


The focus of this review is to highlight the need for improved communication between medical and dental professionals in order to deliver more effective care to patients. The need for communication is increasingly required to capitalise on recent advances in the biological sciences and in medicine for the management of patients with chronic diseases. Improvements in longevity have resulted in populations with increasing special oral-care needs, including those who have cancer of the head and neck, those who are immunocompromised due to HIV/AIDS, advanced age, residence in long-term care facilities or the presence of life-long conditions, and those who are receiving long-term prescription medications for chronic conditions (e.g., anti-hypertensives, anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, antidepressants). These medications can cause adverse reactions in the oral cavity, such as xerostomia and ulceration. Patients with xerostomia are at increased risk of tooth decay, periodontal disease and infection. The ideal management of such individuals should involve the collaborative efforts of physicians, nurses, dentists and dental hygienists, thus optimising treatment and minimising secondary complications deriving from the oral cavity.