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Improving Patient Care: Obtain an Accurate Medication History

Supplement use, eating habits and nutritional deficiencies have been shown to play an important role in improving oral and physical health. Are you asking your patients about these conditions?

In the Inside Dentistry article, Update on Nutrition for Better Healing,” author Sanda Moldovan, DDS, MS, CNS, talks about supplement use and the role of nutrition in postsurgical recovery. It made me wonder how many dentists ask patients about their dietary history, supplement use, eating habits and nutritional deficiencies prior to treatment?

In the article, Moldovan shares that supplement use, eating habits and nutritional deficiencies have been shown in medical and dental studies to play an important role in improving oral and physical health, as well as procedural outcomes. She also states that the majority of dental patients take at least one dietary supplement.

As someone who is striving to be more health conscious and understand how any nutritional deficiencies can impact my physical wellbeing, and impact both medical and dental procedural outcomes, I was surprised at what I didn’t know. For instance, I was not aware that a Vitamin D deficiency can negatively affect treatment outcomes. I was also not aware that some dental products contain gluten.

A patient’s medical history is an important part of his/her dental history and increases your awareness of diseases and medications which might interfere with a patient’s dental treatment. A complete medication history should be documented and included in each patient’s file. Ask your patient at each visit if he/she is taking any new medications since his/her last visit, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbal products and/or nutritional supplements. If you aren’t already assessing your patients’ nutritional status, you may wish to consider how having this information can lead to better outcomes.  

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