Epidemiological researchers have tied cases of Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a potentially deadly infection that causes severe diarrhea, to antibiotics prescribed by dentists. The study was presented at an infectious disease conference called IDWeek 2017.
Over a 6-year period, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) examined 1,626 people with community-associated C. diff. Out of that demographic, 136 people reported that they were prescribed antibiotics for dental procedures.
Researchers found that older patients were prescribed antibiotics more often for dental procedures and were more likely to receive clindamycin — the antibiotic that is linked with C. diff infection. The results showed that 34% of those who received antibiotics for dental procedures had no mention of antibiotics in their medical charts.
Additionally, MDH also lead another survey that found 36% of dentists prescribed antibiotics in situations that are generally not recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). Dentists prescribe antibiotics for infections such as abscesses, but in some conditions prescribe antibiotics before procedures to prevent infection. The ADA no longer recommends that practice in most cases.