Guidelines suggest that people with certain heart conditions take antibiotics before invasive dental procedures. A new study confirms the benefit of this practice for reducing the risk of endocarditis, a serious heart infection often caused by bacteria from the mouth.
Published Sept. 13, 2022, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the study relied on health and dental records from nearly eight million people, including more than 36,000 at high risk for endocarditis. This includes people with a replaced or repaired heart valve, certain congenital heart defects, or a history of endocarditis.
Only about one-third of people at high risk for endocarditis received antibiotics before invasive dental procedures. Among those who didn't receive antibiotics, the risk of endocarditis was 10 times higher following a tooth extraction and 12.5 times higher after oral surgery compared with those who received antibiotics before the procedures.
People who are vulnerable to endocarditis can download a wallet card from the American Heart Association at https://health.harvard.edu/card for additional information.
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