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Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in the Dental Office

Antibiotics are a necessary miracle of modern science and vital to quality healthcare. Bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics with an estimated 2 million infected by such bacteria and 23,000 patients dying per the Centers of Disease of Control (CDC). The resistance leads to increased costs and delays in recovery.

Bacteria develop resistance traits through biological and evolutionary factors. Antibiotics may allow bacteria colonies to propagate genetically resistant strains. With the increase of antibiotics in health care and dental care, consequences may develop. A common infectious strain is Staphyloccocus aureus bacteria. Such strains have started to develop penicillin resistance. Furthermore, subtypes may further develop resistance to methicillin or vancomycin drugs. S. aureus can be found in dental implants and oropharynx. MRSA has been found in the nose and pharynx.

Severe dental infections, compromised health, and medical literature guidelines necessitate the use of antibiotics. Many hospitals also are sought by patients for odontogenic pain and usually receive a course of analgesics and antibiotics. However, dentists on average prescribe less by about 15-40% as they try to treat the underlying condition before resorting to antibiotics.

Antibiotics resistance propagation has been furthered in other fields in the world. The food industry relies heavily on antibiotics. Livestock receive it, commercial seafood or aqua farming may be equally involved. Although the CDC advises against over injecting antibiotics into cattles, pigs, or chickens, food borne resistant bacteria are still a concern from multiple health agencies.

Fortunately advances are slowly being made to fight back the resistance. Dentistry may use silver nanoparticles to help manage caries and bacteria. Risk for toxicity is a concern and a limitation of the treatment. Improvement in dental implant production with modified or enhanced surfaces may lead to partial antibacterial properties.

Brian Y. Kuo DDS FAGD

(626) 800-8022

🦠 Be sure to finish your antibiotic medicine to prevent antibiotic resistance.


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