Recent Blog Articles

Pre-dental antibiotics for few, not many

December 1, 2008

Pre-dental antibiotics for few, not many

There's no need for most people with heart disease or a valve problem to take antibiotics before having dental work. That's a reminder from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. In 2007, the two groups published a bold statement reversing a half century of advice. They reiterated that stance in updated guidelines for treating people with heart valve problems (Circulation, Aug. 19, 2008).

Doctors long worried that bleeding during dental work could let microbes from the mouth enter the bloodstream. If these critters settle down and start growing on the inner lining of the heart, the infection could damage heart valves and lead to other serious problems. This condition, called infective endocarditis, affects about 15,000 Americans each year. The conventional wisdom has long been to take a dose of antibiotics before having dental work.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.