Most folks aren’t surprised when their dentist prescribes an antibiotic. It’s so common, so expected that patients don’t pause to ask why they need the drugs to begin with. Or what the side effects might be. Or what alternatives are available.
Over 24 million prescriptions are written by dentists each year, and these are general dentists, [this number] doesn’t include specialists. What we know is that [number] equates to about 10% of all antibiotics that are being prescribed in the outpatient setting. The most common antibiotics that are being prescribed by dentists are the antibiotics that you would think would be prescribed or indicated for a dental condition, [such as] amoxicillin, [or] penicillin.
But we also are seeing some antibiotics prescribed that are actually not indicated for any dental conditions. [This includes] the class of antibiotics fluoroquinolones, and some other antibiotics that are used for urinary tract infections. We’re really trying to understand why that might be happening and why dentists might be prescribing antibiotics that are not indicated in dentistry. [emphasis added]
Antibiotics are commonly used during the treatment of gum disease and other oral infections. But for years, dentists have also routinely prescribed them for patients with heart health issues and other conditions in a practice known as antibiotic prophylaxis. This is because it’s believed that some bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream during certain dental treatments. The antibiotics are intended to prevent secondary infection. .
Newer research, though, suggests that,
Compared with previous recommendations, there are currently relatively few patient subpopulations for whom antibiotic prophylaxis may be indicated prior to certain dental procedures.
Still, as the new data shows, dentists are prescribing away. There are several reasons to be concerned about this.
No new antibiotics have been developed in more than a decade. The result is more toxic usage on common infections.
Antibiotic overuse has led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections and the rise of superbugs. (According to the CDC, an estimated 2 million antibiotic-resistant illness and 23,000 deaths occur annually in the US.)
Antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as bad, creating imbalances in the body’s microbial communities, undermining overall health and well-being.
Antibiotics are useful, to be sure. But overuse isn’t the answer. In some cases, for instance, ozone can be amazingly effective in treating infection. Homeopathic and herbal protocols may be a sensible option in others.
A well-trained biological dentist can help you find the right solution for your specific health situation – as well as advise you on steps to take to support your body through those times when antibiotics really are indicated.