Every year more than 2.5 million older Americans may be victims of elder abuse, and in some cases dentists serve as the first line of defense.
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Alternative medicine isn't so alternative anymore. Once dismissed as a fad or fringe movement, alternative medicine has become an increasingly popular component of mainstream health care, including dentistry.
But patients need to use caution when using any alternative, "natural" treatments, including herbal supplements.
"'Stop, look and listen' applies to the health-food counter as much as the intersection," says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Eric Z. Shapira, DDS, MAGD. Most patients neglect to include vitamins and herbal remedies when listing their medications for their dentist or physician. But even the most common herbs, such as St. John's wort and ginkgo biloba, can cause serious health problems if taken in combination with other drugs or taken in extreme dosages.
Reviewed: January 2012
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