The mouth can be the gateway to some infections that can affect other parts of the body. This is the case of the so-called endocarditis, which through the blood is able to reach the heart and put health at risk. Is it necessary to take antibiotics before a dental treatment to avoid it? The specialists indicate that only in some cases, and a new study has corroborated the effectiveness of that recommendation. Keep reading and discover more details about this topic.
Did you know that through the mouth you can get infections that travel from there to other parts of the body? Therefore, among other things, it is important that you maintain good oral hygiene (and that you take special care if you have metal rings in your mouth that some call braces.
For example, there are infections that start in the mouth that can harm the heart . One of these bacteria is the so-called Streptococcus gordonii , it contributes to the formation of plaque on the surface of the teeth but, if it passes to the blood through the damaged gums, it can cause the formation of blood clots and cause a problem in the heart that is known as endocarditis .
Bacterial or infective endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner membrane of the heart (the endocardium), which occurs when germs that travel through the bloodstream (in this case from the mouth) penetrate the heart. In this way, the bacteria can damage the heart valves and if the infection is not treated, it can be life-threatening.
As these bacteria can enter the body through the damaged gums, there is also some possibility that this will occur when you do certain dental treatments. Therefore, as early as 1955, the American Heart Association (abbreviated AHA, American Heart Association ), had made a list of recommendations in order to reduce the chances of the person developing endocarditis, among which was the use of antibiotics before doing certain treatments in the mouth.
With the passage of time and the arrival of new discoveries, the cardiologists of the American Heart Association (AHA), along with representatives of the American Dental Association, the American Society of Infectious Diseases and the American Academy of Pediatrics updated those recommendations and concluded that using antibiotics preventatively to prevent endocarditis was not necessary in all cases that had originally been suggested.
That’s why they updated the data and since 2007, it is only recommended to use antibiotics before some dental treatments in people who have existing heart problems and, therefore, have a higher risk of suffering endocarditis.
To try to corroborate the effects of this update, a group of researchers from the Mayo Clinic made a re-evaluation of the cases, considering different databases with information since 1999 and found that, despite the recommendation that limits the use of antibiotics in dental procedures only for some patients at risk, the number of cases of endocarditis has not increased.
In case you should have some treatment in your mouth, keep in mind that it is rare that endocarditis affects people who have a healthy heart, and if you have heart problems or are at risk, the doctor will tell you if you should have any care special, how to take an antibiotic before your dental treatment.
And remember that care begins at home. To avoid infections and other complications that can start in the mouth is important to maintain good hygiene. For example, do not forget to brush your teeth at least three times a day, every day, floss daily and visit the dentist at least once a year.