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Superbugs and Overuse of Antibiotics

Madison Family Dental Thoughts on Superbugs and Overuse of Antibiotics

Patients often come into the office with a toothache or other problem and ask if they should be on an antibiotic.  In most cases, our answer is going to be no! This is a shift in thinking from the past.  The reason for this shift is summarized in an excellent article that I read this past spring in the May 2012 issue of Redbook Magazine entitled “Antibiotics are Not Candy”.  I would encourage everyone to read this article.  This issue of superbugs and overuse of antibiotics is truly important for everyone to be aware of, as it will affect medical care in the future for all of us.

Antibiotics came into use in the 1940s and they have transformed medical care, saving millions of lives.  But the magic is at a serious risk.  Bacteria are becoming resistant to our antibiotics at an alarming rate.

A University Of Iowa College of Dentistry Pharmacy Professor stated in a recent lecture, “If we are lucky, we have 10 years before all of our antibiotics become ineffective, and unfortunately there are no new drugs to replace them.”

What this means is some of our most simple infections could become life-threatening.

How did this problem of ineffective antibiotics develop?

There are several factors:

  1. We have a tendency in this country to take antibiotics carelessly — we don’t follow the instructions for taking the medicine the way we are supposed to, and that causes the bacteria to develop resistance.
  2. We as patients think that antibiotics will fix just about anything, and we expect our health care providers to give us something to fix whatever problem we have. We pressure our doctors into giving us medicine that often is not needed, and this overuse also leads to the bacteria becoming resistant.
  3. The overuse of antibiotics in the farming industry injected into livestock that are eventually eaten by humans.

How can you, as a patient of Madison Family Dental, help join the fight against superbugs?

It is important that you work with your doctor or dentist to determine if the antibiotic is really going to be of benefit to what is ailing you.

Remember the best medicine may be no medicine at all!

If an antibiotic is prescribed for you, it is very important that you follow the instructions carefully.  Any time you skip a dose, don’t finish all the medication or drink alcohol while you are on the medicine, you will make the antibiotic less effective and give bacteria a chance to become resistant.

You can also purchase meat from your grocer that hasn’t been treated with antibiotics.

Educate yourself on this issue and spread the message!

Blog post by Lori Veerman D.D.S.

Related Articles:

 Antibiotics Are Not Candy, Redbook, May 2012

Antibiotic Resistance, Wikipedia

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