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AHA affirms tie between oral health, prevention of infective endocarditis

April 19, 2021
Hygiene and regular dental care—not antibiotics—are the most important ways to reduce risk of a heart infection caused by bacteria in the mouth, AHA affirms.

The American Heart Association recently released a statement affirming that practicing good oral health supersedes antibiotics given during dental procedures for some patients to in terms of preventing a heart infection caused by oral bacteria.

While uncommon, infective endocarditis (IE)—a heart infection caused by bacteria that enter the bloodstream and settle in the heart lining, a heart valve, or a blood vessel—is more likely present in patients with heart valve disease or previous valve surgery, congenital heart disease, or recurrent infective endocarditis.

The new AHA statement affirms the categories of heart patients who should be prescribed antibiotics before dental procedures, which had been more tightly defined in 2007 amid concerns of antibiotic resistance due to overprescribing. It also says “IE is far more likely to develop from bacteria attributable to routine daily activities such as toothbrushing than from a dental procedure.”

Read the full AHA press release in Science Daily.