Dentists are being blamed for contributing to the antibiotics resistance crisis.
Unnecessary tooth infection prescriptions are fueling the growth of the deadly superbug C.difficile, new research reveals, which increasingly does not respond to treatment.
Over six years, 15 percent of antibiotic prescriptions were given out by dentists, a study found.
Yet previous research has shown 36 percent of such healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when microbes fail to respond to medications previously used to treat them due to the overuse of such therapies. C.diff, which infects the bowel and can cause life-threatening diarrhea, is particularly non-responsive to therapies.
Dentists are being blamed for contributing to the antibiotics resistance crisis (stock)
THROATS ARE ‘SILENT RESERVOIRS’ FOR ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT GONORRHOEA
Drug-resistant gonorrhoea can spread from an infected person’s throat during oral sex without them even knowing they have the STI, an expert warns.
This comes after a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) last month that incurable gonorrhoea is on the rise due to oral sex and a decline in condom use as HIV fears lessen.
WHO confirmed three people worldwide have developed ‘super gonorrhoea’, which is resistant to all forms of treatment.
Globally, gonorrhea infects around 78million people each year.
Thirty percent of all new infections in the US are resistant to at least one drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How the research was carried out
Researchers from The Minnesota Department of Health analyzed 1,626 people with C.diff infections that did not involve overnight hospital or care home stays between 2009 and 2015.
The incidences were investigated over six years in five countries.
Some 36% of prescriptions are unnecessary
Results reveal 15 percent of infections arose in dental patients.
An earlier study by the same researchers found 36 percent of dentists prescribe antibiotics in situations that are generally not recommended by the American Dental Association.
Lead author Dr Stacy Holzbauer said: ‘Dentists have been overlooked as a source of antibiotic prescribing.
‘It’s important to educate dentists about the potential complications of antibiotic prescribing.
‘Dentists write more than 24.5 million prescriptions for antibiotics a year. It is essential that they be included in efforts to improve antibiotic prescribing.’
‘Limiting antibiotics in dentistry could have a profound impact’
It is appropriate to prescribe antibiotics to treat certain infections, such as those stemming from a tooth abscess.
Yet some dentists prescribe them as a preventative measure before a procedure, as previous recommendations once advised.
Dr Holzbauer said: ‘It is possible some dentists aren’t aware of the updated recommendations or are being asked by other healthcare providers to continue preventive antibiotics despite the change.
‘Limiting the use of inappropriate antibiotics in dentistry could also have a profound impact.’
Previous research has also found less than half of dentists’ prescribing decisions are influenced by concerns about drug side effects or antibiotic resistance.
The findings were presented at an infectious diseases conference in San Diego.