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Patients With Heart Conditions May Require Antibiotics Before Treatment

If you have certain heart conditions or are at higher risk for infective endocarditis, there are new guidelines for whether or not you should be prescribed antibiotics prior to some oral health procedures. Patients with congenital heart disease (both adults and children), patients who have undergone valve repair and /or have prosthetic heart valves, and patients who have experienced infective endocarditis before are now recommended to undergo antibiotic therapy before certain oral health procedures.

There has been a big movement in the medical community to cut back on the use of oral antibiotics in recent years, in an effort to prevent antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance causes antibiotics to stop working as effectively as they were intended, by creating super bacteria which become antibiotic-resistant.

In an effort to curb this, medical associations have recommended a reduction in who doctors and dentists prescribe antibiotics to, but these new recommendations still encourage the use in those with certain oral health conditions like periodontitis to use antibiotics. This is because infective endocarditis can be caused by gingival bacteria, by getting into the bloodstream and traveling to the heart. This can be fatal to those who have the above conditions.

Not only do experts recommend patients with these conditions to use antibiotics, they also recommend patients maintain excellent oral hygiene in the interim. By maintaining good gum health, you protect not just your gums, but your teeth, bones, and yes, even your heart.

Excellent oral health includes brushing and flossing twice a day, for two minutes at a time, and visiting the dentist at least once a year for an exam and cleaning. For those with gum issues such as receding gums, gum disease, deep tissue pockets or who have had infective carditis, it is recommended that you visit Dr. Mingus more than once per year. Twice a year or even quarterly may be recommended depending on the condition of your teeth and gums.

If you have any heart conditions that could affect your oral health, please notify Dr. Mingus prior to your appointment or procedure so that he may determine whether or not you may need antibiotics or other preventative care.