Before 2008 it was required of certain patients to take antibiotics before dental treatment. This was to help protect them from a rare but very serious infection of the heart lining called Infective Endocarditis. Before invasive treatments that might leak harmful bacteria which can travel to the heart, antibiotics were prescribed for people at risk of developing the life threatening heart infection. Forty percent of cases of Infective Endocarditis are caused by bacteria from the mouth. In today’s blog we discuss new research regarding endocarditis and dental treatment.
What is Endocarditis?
Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart–the endocardium–or of the heart’s valves. Although rare, it is most common in people who have an artificial, damaged, or diseased heart valve. Because bacteria can invade your bloodstream–especially during invasive dental, surgical, or medical procedures–if you have a problem that affects the flow of blood through your heart, bacteria–particularly harmful oral bacteria–can settle on the lining or valves of your heart causing a life-threatening infection.
In 2008, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) changed their guidelines which required people at risk for Endocarditis to take antibiotics before invasive procedures including dental cleanings and other dental work. A recent study has identified a significant rise in Infective Endocarditis since the change in guidelines. The rise in the heart infection coincides with the 89 percent drop of antibiotic prophylaxis prescriptions, from 10,900 the month before the guideline change to 1,235 a month by March 2008 verifying the link between oral health and heart health.
About Your Lake Forest Dentist:
Aside from providing dependable family, general, and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.