Why Dentists Should Be Concerned about Superbugs and Antibiotic Resistance

June 22, 2021

On this episode of HealthFirst Talks, host Dr. Don Cohen, Chief Clinical Officer, HealthFirst, talked with a panel about the concern of superbugs and antibiotic resistance in dentistry. The panel included Dr. Fiona Collins, General Dentist and infection control expert, Dr. Scott Cohen, family physician and clinical informaticist, Dr. Heather Ferrarese, a clinical pharmacist with a concentration in community pharmacy, and Dr. Stanley Malamed, a dentist anesthesiologist.

This panel discussion was presented at the 2021 OSAP Virtual Conference.

While this panel is about the concern of antibiotic resistance, it’s important to note all the good that they have done, according to Ferrarese. She elaborated that Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, and, since then, antibiotics have become the cornerstone of modern medicine. Along with public sanitation and immunization, antibiotics have significantly contributed to the control of infectious diseases, including doubling the life span in developing countries over the past two centuries. 

However, this doesn’t mean they’re without they’re challenges and negative impacts.

“Antibiotics can cause adverse drug reactions,” Collins said. “One of the particularly worrying ones is actually gastrointestinal infections, in particular C. difficile.”

These bacteria mainly affect older patients in long-term care facilities or hospitals and usually occur after administering antibiotics. It causes a range of symptoms, ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

The group also dug into how to identify the key risks and concerns with superbugs, offered insight into how to understand the frequency in which antibiotic prescriptions are written and how often they are overprescribed, and highlighted recommendations from the ADA, AHA, and AAOS. Listen to hear more of the group’s chat.

While low-intensity options could be safer, it’s important to understand your space, the specific device and solution you’re looking into, and how to make a space as safe as possible without putting inhabitants in danger.

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