For many, conventional wisdom tells them to take antibiotics when they don’t feel well. They have been told they can go to the doctor or ‘Little Clinic’ to get a prescription for antibiotics. This will eventually make them feel better. But in many cases the antibiotics are taken after they already feel their worst, and the progression of the illness allows them to start feeling better shortly thereafter. So naturally we credit the medication for curing the ailment. In reality, the body is naturally fighting the disease and curing what ails you. But the whole experience makes you feel the antibiotics were the correct choice.
Why is it a problem to just take antibiotics regardless of the issue?
Antibiotics are designed to attack bacterial infections, not viral infections. So if you have a cold or the flu, antibiotics will not help you get better. But the more serious issue is what it can do to your health in the long run. By taking antibiotics too frequently, your body can develop immunity to those types of antibiotics. So when an infection arises and those antibiotics are truly needed, they may not be as affective. This can make treatment more difficult and the disease more dangerous.
Some statistics that show how big of a problem antibiotic resistance has become:
- Over 70% of illness causing bacteria are resistant to at least one type of antibiotic.
- It is estimated over 50,000 deaths can be contributed to antibiotic resistance in the US and Europe in 2015.
- If the problem persists, scientists are projecting that number to rise as high as 10 million by 2050.
- The primary reason for this trend is over prescribing antibiotics.
How is this related to dental health?
Don’t let dental infections grow too large or go too long before treatment. If you wait longer than recommended to treat an abscess then you may need to take even more antibiotics.
With cold and flu season quickly approaching, don’t be surprised if more and more health care professionals are hesitant to prescribe antibiotics if they are uncertain of the underlying problem.